Public sector administration of ecological economics systems using mediated modeling


Address for correspondence: Dr. Marjan van den Belt, New Zealand Centre for Ecological Economics, c/Landcare Research, Private Bag 11-052, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand.


In today's climate of government outsourcing and multiple stakeholder involvement in public sector management and service delivery, it is more important than ever to rethink and redesign the structure of how policy decisions are made, implemented, monitored, and adapted to new realities. The traditional command-and-control approach is now less effective because an increasing amount of responsibility to deliver public goods and services falls on networks of nongovernment agencies. Even though public administrators are seeking new decision-making models in an increasingly more complex environment, the public sector currently only sparsely utilizes Mediated Modeling (MM). There is growing evidence, however, that by employing MM and similar tools, public interest networks can be better equipped to deal with their long-term viability while maintaining the short-term needs of their clients. However, it may require a shift in organizational culture within and between organizations to achieve the desired results. This paper explores the successes and barriers to implementing MM and similar tools in the public sector and offers insights into utilizing them through a review of case studies and interdisciplinary literature. We aim to raise a broader interest in MM and similar tools among public sector administrators at various administrative levels. We focus primarily, but not exclusively, on those cases operating at the interface of ecology and socio-economic systems.