Penn State Harrisburg

Morçöl’s book brings fresh insight to public policy

A Complexity Theory for Public Policy

A Complexity Theory for Public Policy

Göktuğ Morçöl, associate professor of public administration and policy, has authored A Complexity Theory for Public Policy, a book that introduces practical application of complexity theory into the field of public policy. Published by Routledge, the book brings new perspectives into understanding the characteristics of complex policy systems.

Complexity theory is a set of concepts that attempts to explain intricate occurrences that are unexplained by traditional theories. The public generally understands that social problems such as unemployment, healthcare delivery, and pollution are multifaceted and not easily solved, but is unable to explain why, according to Morçöl. Complexity theorists offer concepts and tools that grasp the intricacies of social problems that are often simplified in policymaking processes using advanced methods, he said.

"Complexity theory has become popular in the natural and social sciences over the last few decades as a result of the advancements in our understanding of the complexities in natural and social phenomena,” said Morçöl. “A Complexity Theory for Public Policy shows that the concepts and methods of the theory can be applied to better understand how public policies are made and how they affect people’s lives.”

Morçöl, of Harrisburg, has authored, edited, and co-edited six books; his articles have appeared in journals including Administrative Theory and Praxis, Policy Sciences, Public Administration Review, and International Journal of Public Administration. Morçöl has served as chair of the Section on Complexity Network Studies of the American Society for Public Administration.