Compound Complexity: An approach to understanding governance inaction

Document Type : Research Article (Original Article)


1 Associate Professor, Faculty of Management and Industrial Engineering, Malek Ashtar University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

2 Ph.D. in Political Science, Faculty of Law and Political Science, Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran


Despite passing half a century of continuous sympathetic welfare oriented policy making efforts by Iranian politicians and policy makers, there are still important problems in the economic, industrial and social fields, which have become more complicated and accumulated. The result is a kind of passivity and grounding the governance capacities and capabilities which can be explained by term "compound complexity". The purpose of this article is to provide an effective framework for understanding policy issues and problems, by employing concept of compound complexity, which helps policy analysts and government officials to find root causes of policy failures and unintended consequences in earlier stages. In addition, a common understanding of the main conflicts can be obtained by deciphering the compound complexity, leading to more effective and constructive stakeholders’ agreement. Furthermore, it prevents silent death of policies before losing opportunities and wasting time. At the end, three approaches (1) transformation in the arrangement of political forces, (2) institutional innovation and (3) platform-based information technology are presented to get out of the compound complexity trap.


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