There is an argument that research and practice in Public Administration always involves social complexity, and therefore it can be informed by complexity. There is also an argument that Public Administration, in actuality, is minimally informed by complexity.  There is truth to both arguments.  Before complexity can inform the field of Public Administration, scholars and practitioners must inquire into the nature of complexity, as well as seek to understand the attributes and constraints of this approach. As this book demonstrates, complexity inquiry provides numerous theoretical frameworks, approaches and associated tools for looking into the black box of causality.

The authors in this edited volume gathered at the University of La Verne (June 2013) to pursue such an inquiry, discussing the relevance of the complexity sciences and how they contribute to pertinent questions in the domains of Public Administration and Public Policy. Their contributions are presented in this edited volume. Each contribution is an attempt to answer the Challenge of Making Public Administration and Complexity work—COMPACT—as reflected in the title. Together, the contributions present an overview of the diverse state of the art in thinking about and research in complex systems in the public domain.

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