Governance capabilities for dealing wisely with wicked problems

C.J.A.M. Termeer, A. Dewulf, G.E. Breeman, S.J. Stiller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores an integrative approach for dealing with wicked problems. Wicked problems not only require alternative action strategies but also alternative ways of observing and enabling. Four governance capabilities are essential: (a) reflexivity, or the capability to deal with multiple frames; (b) resilience, or the capability to adjust actions to uncertain changes; (c) responsiveness, or the capability to respond to changing agendas and expectations; (d) revitalization, or the capability to unblock stagnations. These capabilities form the basis for achieving small wins in wicked problems. We illustrate our argument with examples from sustainable food production of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-710
JournalAdministration and Society
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • social-ecological systems
  • common agricultural policy
  • adaptive governance
  • framing theory
  • management
  • attention
  • netherlands
  • transitions
  • perspective
  • integration


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