The question of how to organize collaborative problem solving efforts when collective action is necessary has received considerable attention in the scientific literature. However, many such contributions neglect the role of the governance system in which processes evolve. These systems are complex, and the actors involved have a high degree of selforganizing capacity at their disposal. Actors create and recreate the rules of the game, draw and redraw boundaries, and develop and redevelop patterns of interaction. The governance of the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol demonstrates the complexity of a compounded governance system and the influence this has on collaborative problem solving. In this paper, we analyse two attempts to organize collaborative problem-solving efforts. Although the government assumed itself to be in charge, we demonstrate that the collaborative problem-solving efforts are seriously hampered by the self-organizing capacity of actors in neighbouring subsystems.

Airport governance, Collaborative governance, Complex governance system, Path dependency, Self-organization,
Systems Research and Behavioral Science
Department of Public Administration

van Buuren, M.W, Boons, F.A.A, & Teisman, G.R. (2012). Collaborative problem solving in a complex governance system: Amsterdam airport schiphol and the challenge to break path dependency. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 29(2), 116–130. doi:10.1002/sres.2101