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Mixed-scanning: A “Third” Approach to Decision-making*

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Abstract

A rationalistic approach to decision-making requires greater resources than decision-makers command. The incremental strategy, which takes into account the limited capacity of actors, fosters decisions which neglect basic societal innovations. Mixed-scanning reduces the unrealistic aspects of rationalism by limiting the details required in fundamental decisions and helps to overcome the conservative slant of incrementalism by exploring longer-run alternatives. (Incremental decisions tend to imply fundamental ones, anyway.) The mixed-scanning model makes this dualism explicit by combining (a) high-order, fundamental policy-making processes which set basic directions and (b) incremental ones which prepare for fundamental decisions and work them out after they have been reached. Mixed-scanning has two further advantages over incrementalism: It provides a strategy for evaluation and it does not include hidden structural assumptions. The flexibility of the different scanning levels makes mixed-scanning a useful strategy for decision-making in environments of varying stability and by actors with varying control and consensus-building capacities.
... This period is also referred to as the era of planning standardization (Fainstein & Filippis, 2016), and is considered the golden period of planning (Webber, 1963). Rationality decision making is made entirely based on the knowledge of planners and decision makers (Banfield, 1959;Etzioni, 1967). Planners are positioned as technical experts, and an integral part of the planning body (Taylor, 1998). ...
... In lieu of comprehensive planning, Lindblom (1959) proposed "incremental planning". Etzioni (1967) sees comprehensive planning and incremental planning as both advantages and disadvantages. He also offered "Mixed-Scan" as an answerer. ...
Article
Planning is a forward-looking and public-interest process, and for that purpose there is a choice of actions to be taken. Communicative rationality is highly recommended in planning related to the environment. However, among the factors that influence environmental planning communication, particularly regarding biodiversity issues, environmental ethics is still rarely discussed. Various environmental ethics need to be understood by a planner as a communicator and translating the desires of interested groups. Attention to environmental ethics also helps planners in selecting appropriate approaches to integrate biodiversity into urban planning. This study aims to examine the relationship between planning theory and environmental ethics that is often overlooked in efforts to integrate biodiversity and urban planning. With the narrative literature review method, the results showed that the approach of cultural ecosystem services is one of the middle paths to bridge the variety of environmental ethics that are understood by the community and government. This approach opens a wide space for motives to conserve biodiversity in urban areas so that aspects of sustainability and human well-being can be achieved together.
... This model includes elements from both rationalist and incrementalist models. That is, it looks at both the richness of detail strategically gathered for a decision and similar patterns of development (Etzioni, 1967). "Etzioni accepts Lindblom's criticism of the synoptic ideal, but rejects disjointed incrementalism on the grounds that it gives too great a weight to the powerful in policymaking, that many decisions are not incremental, and that it encourages bureaucratic inertia" (Collingridge & Douglas, 1984, p. 362). ...
Book
This book aims to contribute to the transdisciplinary study of the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus in cities and to help policy makers adopt a more integrated approach to natural resources management in urban environments to face the challenges and threats of climate change. This approach is based on a multidimensional scientific framework that seeks to understand the complex and non-linear interrelationships and interdependencies between water-energy-food under climate change and to generate solutions to reduce trade-offs among development goals and generate co-benefits that help encourage sustainable development and contribute to the achievement of SDGs, mainly SDG 11 (make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) and SDG 13 (take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts).Governing the WEF nexus in cities is one of the greatest resource challenges of our time, as cities consume large amounts of WEF, but one that can also generate relevant alternatives with which to tackle climate change. To help fostering these alternatives, this book analyzes the governance, institutional and political economy factors that determine the effectiveness of the nexus approach and reviews the potential, the benefits and the policy implications of the adoption of the WEF nexus approach at the urban level. Through a series of hands-on cases, chapters in this book present the opportunities of the WEF nexus approach to achieve innovation and transformative change and discuss concrete areas of synergy and policy initiative to raise urban resilience. Water-Energy-Food Nexus and Climate Change in Cities will serve both as a guide for policy makers as well as a useful resource for students and researchers in fields such as urban studies, public health, environmental sciences, energy studies and public policy interested in learning how cities can represent possibilities to navigate and manage sustainability from local to global.
... Si el objetivo es aprender sobre lo que sí funciona y lo que no y entender las causas, se requiere retroalimentación constante que vaya más allá de limitarse a la etapa final del proceso de producción (productos y resultados), es necesario revisar todo el proceso mediante el cual el gobierno genera valor público. Para lograr lo anterior es necesario un modelo mixto, como ha sugerido Etzioni (1967), que combine la flexibilidad del modelo incremental con el potencial transformador del modelo racional. ...
Chapter
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El objetivo de este texto es contribuir al debate teórico sobre la toma de decisiones en materia de migración en contextos democráticos y cómo aumentar la eficacia de las políticas implementadas. Lo anterior es de particular relevancia ante la crisis de caravanas migrantes y la creciente presión por parte del gobierno de los Estados Unidos de América. En este sentido, primero se analiza el enfoque racional que ha dominado el análisis académico de las políticas de migración en México en los últimos años. Posteriormente, se discuten las aportaciones que el incrementalismo brinda a la discusión teórica sobre las políticas de migración en contextos democráticos. Luego se analizan las contribuciones del modelo de elección pública al entendimiento de las políticas de migración en contextos democráticos. Finalmente, a modo de conclusión, se sugiere una perspectiva teórica que incorpora elementos de las tres corrientes de pensamiento para el análisis y toma de decisiones respecto a las políticas de migración en América Latina.
... This model includes elements from both rationalist and incrementalist models. That is, it looks at both the richness of detail strategically gathered for a decision and similar patterns of development (Etzioni, 1967). "Etzioni accepts Lindblom's criticism of the synoptic ideal, but rejects disjointed incrementalism on the grounds that it gives too great a weight to the powerful in policymaking, that many decisions are not incremental, and that it encourages bureaucratic inertia" (Collingridge & Douglas, 1984, p. 362). ...
Chapter
Climate change is expected to affect the most diverse regions of the world in diverse ways, posing additional challenges to managers and populations in the countryside and in the cities. In this chapter, we adopt climate anomaly scenarios considering the variables such as maximum temperature, consecutive days of rain, and number of dry days, to select municipalities in the Brazilian Amazon that are likely to face great climate changes in the region. We then analyzed socioeconomic data, producing clusters for groups of municipalities based on the neural network self-organizing maps. Our findings reveal that an analysis of the cities from a nexus perspective shows the impact of climate change in urban development and, at the same time, urban development impacts on the natural resources. The results depict Brazilian Amazon municipalities’ vulnerability – they have the lowest level of basic sanitation, waste management, adequate storm drainage, and human development index that makes their population particularly vulnerable to face the climate crisis. Furthermore, impacts can be particularly disastrous for 30 Amazonian municipalities by their critical condition due to climate change and their socioeconomic and water demand index. Our results can be useful for managers of municipalities that may reach critical states due to climate change and serve as an alert to the urgency of adaptation and management strategies.
... The communicative model of planning which prioritized diverse perspectives and engagement is critiqued for less emphasis on political conflict or on the specificities of the context (Sager, 1992), thus understating the influence of uncertainty in decision-making. Parallel developments in planning theory literature highlighted the incremental, organic, non-linear and chaotic ways of collective decision-making in the political sphere alluding to an embrace of uncertainty (Etzioni, 1967). ...
Article
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An increase in unprecedented environmental crises as a result of climate change and human influence has amplified calls for recognizing the complexity of decision-making under uncertainty (DMUU). How decision-makers act in institutional settings under uncertainty has, however, received limited attention in decision-making in planning practice. This article investigates DMUU in the context of Wayanad, a peri urban hill district in Kerala, India through two decision settings; the response to unprecedented heavy monsoon floods in 2018 and 2019 as a case of short-term uncertainty, and policy and plan making regarding quarrying in ecologically sensitive areas as a case of long-term uncertainty. Through empirical findings from semi-structured interviews of 58 decision-makers from state and non-state actors, the article discusses individual and collective actions made before, during and after the floods by combining insights on DMUU from spatial planning and governance literature underpinned by spatial-temporal and political ecology narratives. The article argues that factors such as community resourcefulness and decentralized governance appeared to facilitate effective decision-making under short-term uncertainty. However, the same factors did not have an intrinsic influence on decision-making under long-term uncertainty with current ways of decision-making regarding quarrying in ecologically sensitive areas likely obstructing sustainable long-term planning and land use transformation in Wayanad. The article concludes with recommendations for potential improvements in decision-making under long-term uncertainty in contexts with weak institutional mechanisms, chronic vulnerabilities and resource scarcity, through structural organizational change, cross-sectoral decision-making arenas, and decision-making frameworks that foregrounds heuristic, flexible, incremental, and cumulative actions across scales over time.
... Corresponding to the worries about the collaborative approach, the doubts inborn to intricate sustainability complications and probable planning replies to them expected snowballing consideration since the 2000s drawing on former works in management, policy and organizational studies dealing with the role of strategies in societal change (Etzioni, 1967), some academics recommended to reconsider urban planning as a method of strategy making in order to deal with the essential uncertainties in describing urban problems, solutions and urgencies (Healey et al., 1997;Salet and Faludi, 2000). New planning principles were thus acknowledged: unambiguously accounting for exterior surroundings and their effect on local developments would help urban actors recognize broader dynamics of change and their scope for maneuver, and supplementing formal planning ways through cognitive and motivational tools (e.g. ...
Article
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By this time, there has been a trend in the direction of devolvement in governance and planning. This trend presents a role for inhabitants, a considerable lot of whom have found an opportunity to express their interests for self-assurance; struggling that current governance structures do not satisfactorily outfit their needs and interests. As planning is inseparably connected to power, this feature definitely helps encouraging or limiting the advancement of which governance shapes. In this manner, the heading of planning practice warrants genuine thought about power, policy and people. This paper disposes the historical positions of planning, in perspective of deciding how the discipline develops and influences by rationalities. The investigation follows the paradigmatic advancement of the discipline to review the regular planning speculations. Eminent perspectives are then investigated and lined up beside transformative planning theories with focus on social approach development. Finally, the study of transitions in both areas of paradigm and rationality, indicates that viewpoints are changing fast from rationalism toward value based humane normative approaches, quantity to quality, and determinism to intuition.
Chapter
The debate on the nexus between water, energy, and food (WEF) has generated expectations on the global stage about possible innovative transformations towards sustainability. On the one hand, “the nexus” has been an important umbrella concept for innovative research on intersectoral and multilevel governance of WEF systems, responsible management of resources, and integrated methodologies. On the other hand, the argument is that there is little discussion about the communicative processes in which knowledge is bargained to pursue innovation. In this context, the questions that arise here are as follows: What kind of transformations do we really seek from this approach? How can this debate be related to the Brazilian context? This chapter aims at discussing these questions in the light of two projects friendly to the nexus approach in Brazil. For this purpose, the Sustainable Cities Innovation Observatory (OICS) database will be used. Finally, this chapter provides insights on how to move towards more responsible nexus innovations.
Article
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There are striking .regularities in the budgetary process. The evidence from over half of the non-defense agencies indicates that the behavior of the budgetary process of the United States government results in aggregate decisions similar to those produced by a set of simple decision rules that are linear and temporally stable. For the agencies considered, certain equations are specified and compared with data composed of agency requests (through the Bureau of the Budget) and Congressional appropriations from 1947 through 1963. The comparison indicates that these equations summarize accurately aggregate outcomes of the budgetary process for each agency.
Article
The scrutiny of governmental decision making and policy judgments is unceasing. A recent National Academy of Sciences report, for example, criticized the government for technological decisions that did not take cognizance of their impact on the deployment and utilization of scientists and engineers. The total issue is again joined in this symposium which presents some sharply contrasting viewpoints on administration, politics, and social change. Yehezkel Dror of the Hebrew University reexamines the decision making theory of Charles Lindblom's 1959 Review article, finds it wanting where rapid social change is occurring, and presents a new "normative" model for policy makers. Lindblom, now with the Department of State, defends his thesis in the context of American political change. Examining both the original Lindblom thesis and the Dror critique, Roger Jones of the Budget Bureau finds practicing administrators to be extremely skeptical of models and "other prescribed methodology as a road to administrative salvation." Placing the Lindblom essay in the perspective of public administration as a continuing study, Mickey McCleery of Antioch College finds in it an insightful contrast to the traditional theory of responsible bureaucracy. However, he joins with Jones in doubting the utility of models, and with Heydebrand in noting the philosophical difficulty of accepting what is as what ought to be. A University of Chicago sociologist, Wolf Heydebrand critiques the Dror model and the "essentially conservative framework" of Lindblom's argument.
Article
Short courses, books, and articles exhort administrators to make decisions more methodically, but there has been little analysis of the decision-making process now used by public administrators. The usual process is investigated here-and generally defended against proposals for more "scientific" methods. Decisions of individual administrators, of course, must be integrated with decisions of others to form the mosaic of public policy. This integration of individual decisions has become the major concern of organization theory, and the way individuals make decisions necessarily affects the way those decisions are best meshed with others'. In addition, decision-making method relates to allocation of decision-making responsibility-who should make what decision. More "scientific" decision-making also is discussed in this issue: "Tools for Decision-Making in Resources Planning."
See also Herbert A. Simon, Models of Man The Politics of the Budgetary ProcessThe Science of 'Muddling Through Strategy of Decision, op. cit.; and The Intelligence of Democracy
  • Charles E Lindblom
See review of A Strategy of Decision by Kenneth J. Arrow in Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 79 (1964), p. 585. See also Herbert A. Simon, Models of Man (New York: Wiley, 1957), p. 198, and Aaron Wildavsky, The Politics of the Budgetary Process (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1964), pp. 147-152. ' Charles E. Lindblom, "The Science of 'Muddling Through'," Public Administration Review, Vol. 19 (1959), pp. 79-99; Robert A. Dahl and Charles E. Lindblom, Politics, Economics and Welfare (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1953); Strategy of Decision, op. cit.; and The Intelligence of Democracy, op. cit. 6 Lindblom, The Intelligence of Democracy, op. cit., pp. 144-148.
The Intelligence of Democracy
  • Lindblom
A Strategy of Decision
  • Lindblom Braybrooke
Boulding in a review of A Strategy of Decision in the
  • E Kenneth
The Power of the Purse, loc. cit
  • Fenno