Investigation in Evolution of Public Policy making Schools: From Traditional Schools to Chaos Theory

Document Type : Research Paper


1 department of public administration, faculty of management, allameh tabataba'i university, Tehran, Iran.

2 department of public administration, faculty of management, allameh tabataba'i university, Tehran, Iran,


Public policy studies are transitioning in to a new approach (paradigm) that has questioned assumptions of old approaches. New approach has basic assumptions, ideas and beliefs but hasn’t been developed sub theories and applied methods under its assumptions yet. Purpose of this study is to investigating historical course of public policy schools, identifying assumptions of and critics to each school, comparing basic assumptions of each school and finally Introducing new public policy school. The research is descriptive and dialectical method is used to explain historical evolution of policy-making schools. Library resources and scientific journal articles is used to gather required information. Investigating fundamental implicit or explicit assumptions of public policy schools demonstrate dialectical struggle between fundamental assumptions of three schools: comprehensive rationality, bounded rationality (incrementalism and satisficing) and chaos theory. Therefor basic assumptions and beliefs of three schools are compared. Meta-analysis of literature about change in assumptions of policy-making implies that chaos theory is the last paradigm. The most significant difference between chaos theory paradigm and others is in the way it deal with the future. Finally based on chaos theory assumptions, some suggestions are provided for improvement of public policymaking in Iran.


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Volume 50, Issue 3
October 2020
Pages 883-906
  • Receive Date: 12 June 2019
  • Revise Date: 07 September 2019
  • Accept Date: 07 September 2019
  • First Publish Date: 22 September 2020