Wicked Problems

Similarity of Concepts

The paper, Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning has outlined various aspects that bear similarities with the current situation that we are living in. To begin with, the paper points out the fact that the confrontation methods of social policy would be futile in trying to solve issues. The reasons for this assertion were based on the observed mutation of the problems facing the world during the 1970s. Indeed, scientific solution of the problems had failed a great deal and was only effective in the solution of tame problems. The continued application of science and research in the dissection of social problems was no better than a waste of precious time. Part of the reasons for this failure stemmed from the challenges of describing policy problems in a definitive manner leading to gaps in the process. In addition, the absence of undisputable public good in the pluralistic society contributed to the ineffectiveness of the solutions. Other factors including the inapplicability of policies to respond to the social problems as well as the lack of definitive and objective solutions sustained this ineffectiveness. Ultimately, all these factors combined to enhance the mutation of policy problems in the society.

In their research, Rittel & Webber (1973) identified the presence of wicked problems in society that could no longer be solved through traditional methods. The nature of these problems required a shift in social policy to guarantee any chances of success in problem solving. The characteristics of these problems dictated that the strategies in use would only be futile in their attempts to solve the problems. How the world is structured contributed to these problems and science had no chance of solving problems that were beyond the concepts of science. The pluralistic nature of the society further fueled the ineffectiveness of the strategies that were in use during the time. Today, the world faces similar problems as identified in the initial paper. Across the globe, problems are emerging with similar characteristics to those of wicked problems (Head, 2008). Problems such as famine, death, inequality and political instability are on the rise and continue to make daily headlines. The mitigation and prevention of these problems cannot be based on traditional methods of social policy. The concepts addressed in the paper, about forty years ago has relevant implications in the world today. In fact, most of the issues raised in the paper have similarities with the ones facing the current modern world.

The diagnostic approach that the paper assumes makes it ideal in today’s problem riddled society. The paper draws evidence of the failure of problem solution from the many protests that were taking place in the world. The protests were fueled by lack of solutions to most problems that the people had in those days.  Today, similar events are taking precedence as the people highly disagree with the leadership and governance accorded by world governments. Every day, critics of the government make headlines in an attempt to influence social policy. While the events captured in the paper are similar to the ones happening today, it is the relatedness of the affected sectors that is most surprising. The most notable complainants of yester years ranged from union workers, educators, policemen and even house helps. The constitution of this list is most likely due to the nature of abuse that these groups of people faced from the governments. Today, similar groups are in disapproval of the nature of problem solving adopted by their governments (Head & Alford, 2015). For instance, it is very common to come across strikes among the health workers. Most of the reasons that make them strike tend to be similar at all times. Further, most parents are of the opinion that the current education system is not of much value to the children. Perhaps the reasons for this development emanates from the failure of education to guarantee people success in their life. However modified these issues may appear, they resonate with the initial issues that were addressed in the Rittle’s paper.

Still, the paper is most relevant in the nature of

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