Process or substance approach in the design of MAS?

Substance versus Process approach
• Substance: focus on the content
– – – Policy analysis precedes policy making, public interest Objectivity and rationality Distinct phases

Process: focus on decision making process
– – – Objective policy analysis is not possible, individual interests Perspectives and interaction Parallel rounds, flows

Source: Edelenbos, Monnikhof, van de Riet (2000)

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Criteria for process or substance approach?
• Managerial complexity
– – – – Number of actors, interdependency? Dynamics, aligned interests? Importance of the subject to the stakeholders Sense of urgency

• Technical complexity

– Consensus about: • Research results? • Source+data • System boundaries • Methods and models • Criteria, weight of criteria

3 source: The Education of a Technology Policy, Bruijn, Porter 261-274

Table with four possible actions explained
 

Technical complexity low Process component is less  important,  communicative (explain)

Technical complexity high Process component is less  important,  interactive (negotiate)

Managerial  complexity low

Managerial  complexity high

Process component is  important,  communicative (explain)

Process component is  important,  interactive (negotiate)

source: Huppes, Klein, de Bruijn (1998) Positionering van huidig 4 milieu instrumentarium en doorkijk naar de toekomst, p. 21 table

Disadvantages approaches
• Substance

– Irrelevant outcomes – Report contest – Obstruction by actors

• Process
– – – – Bias with regard to start solution Main issues are pushed forward, lack of profoundness Bias with regard to satisfaction of involved actors Information overload / strategic behavior

source: Edelenbos, Monnikhof, van de Riet (2000)

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Double helix approach
Continuously connecting: • Substance; problem definition, generating or changing solutions, executing research, etc. • Process; leveling references of actors, negotiating, agreements etc. Based on the failures/disadvantages of the substance and the process approach.
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Solution: Double helix approach (1)
• Substantial flexibility, continuously reflecting on problems, actors, solutions etc. • Agreement on approach in a ‘contract’, constructed with all participants • Cooperate in report making, include all actors • Accept all interests, keep track of winners and losers
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Solution: Double helix approach (2)
• Independent expert team for substantial value • Start with making agreements about components of the end-product • Possibility for changing involvement of actors, individual research, strive for substantial consensus, foundation of information sources • Make agreements about the access of new information to the process

Source: Edelenbos, Monnikhof, van de Riet (2000)

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Case: Iraq
• Goals

– Democracy in Middle-East – Control of oil reserves – – – – – –

• Current situation in Iraq

No democracy The cease of the original authority Lack of control in Iraq (no cooperation of Iraqi people) Terrorism Unhealthy economical situation No possibility to retreat troops (no exit option)

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Process and Substance after the war
• Process – Setting up Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) – Transitional Administrative Law (TAL)

• Substance – Using external experts, who encountered the same issues elsewhere (de Mello)
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Lack of substance in the US approach after the war
• Irrelevant outcomes – Shifting perspectives – Not taking into consideration the dynamic environment • Obstruction by actors – De-Baathism; Many military and policemen turned into opponents of the US.

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Lack of process in the US approach after the war
• Bias with regard to start solution – Goodwill of Iraqis overestimated Satisfaction of some actors neglected – High military (both from US and Iraq), UN not involved

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Double Helix approach in Iraq (1)
• Continuous tuning between process and substance: flexibility • Map all winners and losers, avoid net losers • Reflection on start solution by (objective) expert team, adjustment of the policy if necessary • All parties must be able to show their own visions and contribute to the process (research)

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Double Helix approach in Iraq (2)
• Independent expert team for substantial value (UN) • Start with making agreements about components of the end-product • Possibility for changing involvement of actors, individual research, strive for substantial consensus, foundation of information sources • Make agreements about the access of new information to the process

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Conclusions
• Involvement of UN and Iraqi army would have created a more stable environment and less resistance. • Better analysis of the situation and culture in Iraq would given more insight in the gap between dictatorship and a democracy.

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Discussion:

In a crisis situation like Iraq there is no room for substance approach

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