Steering in a Complex World: A Review in the Finnish context

The role of steering and policy instruments has developed together with the worldview

How should policies be implemented? What is the worldview associated with different steering and policy instruments? What will steering be in the future?

This review begins with a description of the historical development of public administration with three consecutive theoretical paradigms: Classical Public Administration, New Public Management (NPM) and New Public Governance. These paradigms, predominant in the management scientific discussion, are set to a practical context by comparing them with the development phases of Finnish public administration and by linking them to policy instruments central to each phase. In the second section, some drivers for the development and change of these paradigms are discussed. We will argue that we currently live in a complex world consisting of multiple elements with surprising interactions. Complexity has implications for steering, too. In the last section, the model of complexity-theoretical steering is introduced.