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Post bureaucracy vs Bureaucracy

Post bureaucracy vs Bureaucracy
1 Annotated comments by David Sotir, HELPS


Question: Discuss how the issues associated with global warming might be

understood as a wicked problem.

The contemporary challenge of carbon p o l l u t i o n and climate change can

be understood as a wicked problem entailing commercial implications. A wicked

problem, as coined by Rittel and Webber (1973, cited in Head 2008), can be defined

as an intractable social concern featuring characteristics of uncertainty, complexity

and divergence. Due to the applicability of certain properties, carbon emissions and

climate change can be considered a wicked problem, simultaneously presenting

commercial issues and opportunities.

Various WP characteristics are prevalent in carbon emissions and climate

change. According to Rittel and Webber (1973), specific properties underpin the

nature and extent of a wicked problem. Firstly, the multifaceted nature of the issue

lends support to its interpretation as a global wicked problem. Consistent with

wicked problem characteristics, the issue is unique, difficult to define and involves

numerous contested causes and solutions derived from inconclusive causal evidence.

Similarly, this relates to controversy arising from divergent stakeholder

perspectives, adhering to the WP characteristic of explaining discrepancies in varied

ways (Rittel & Webber 1973). For example, denialist groups reject the notion of

climate change and human causality, doubting the potential for viable solutions. In

contrast, environmental groups recognise causality, emphasizing the need for

The following are general comments about the structure and contents of an academic essay written for university – they are not prescriptive and intended as an educational guide only.

Comment [A1]: Background information provided here. Introduction defines wicked problem as a problem with complex interconnected issues. Definition of terminology that will be used throughout the essay. Reference to source of definition. For advice on writing an introduction, go to: students/support/helps/self-help- resources/academic-writing/essay-writing

Comment [A2]: Explains the relevance and significance of the topic. The introduction clearly indicates the business implications of the ‘dilemma’.

Comment [A3]: This is an example of ‘author-prominent’ citation where emphasis is given to the original writer. Reporting language (‘according to’) is used to acknowledge an author’s ideas. For help on using reporting verbs, go to: students/support/helps/self-help- resources/grammar/reporting-verbs

Comment [A4]: Integration of scholarly evidence. For help on synthesizing ideas and how to paraphrase, go to: students/support/helps/self-help- resources/academic-writing/paraphrasing

Comment [A5]: This word helps link this paragraph to the previous one. For more ideas on how to use linking language in English, go to: students/support/helps/self-help- resources/grammar/transition-signals

Comment [A6]: This is an example of ‘information-prominent’ citation where emphasis is given to the data.

Comment [A7]: Examples are used to illustrate the argument that climate change is a complex problem with many related issues and stakeholders.
2 Annotated comments by David Sotir, HELPS

sustainable solutions. Consequently, multiple stakeholder views permeate the

issue, reinforcing the complexity and divergence of climate change as a wicked


In addition, carbon emissions and climate change features uncertainty,

relating to WP characteristics of contentious causes and non-definitive solutions

(Rittel & Webber 1973). For example, climate change creates public policy

challenges regarding choices of resource allocation tools (Head 2008). Consequently,

carbon emissions and climate change can be interpreted as an uncertain, complex

wicked problem.

As a wicked problem in the dynamic business environment, carbon emissions

and climate change pose commercial issues and opportunities. Business issues

involve physical and regulatory risks. Physical implications of the wicked problem

include environmental pressures such as extreme weather conditions (Stern 2007).

In effect, this may pose a detriment to primary industries relying on suitable

conditions for efficient resource extraction (Sussman & Freed 2008). For example,

severe conditions in the mining industry may hinder productivity, affecting

profitability and shareholder value. Consequently, the wicked problem presents

increased risks, posing adverse threats for business operations.

In addition, in the Australian business context, the wicked problem poses

regulatory issues through the proposed carbon tax. It is projected that this policy

tool will increase business costs as liable sectors pass costs down value chains

(Garner & Wong 2010). In effect, increased prices may lower consumer demand and

reduce consumer purchasing power. Consequently, the wicked problem poses the

Comment [A8]: The phrase links this paragraph to the previous one. See also Comment [A6].

Comment [A9]: Concrete examples are used to indicate relevance to the argument and to substantiate/support it.

Comment [A10]: Explicit topic sentence reflects the overall theme or main idea of the paragraph, making it easier for the reader to comprehend what is to follow. The question requires some reference to business-related issues. To watch a video tutorial on writing body paragraphs go to: students/support/helps/self-help- resources/academic-writing/essay-writing

Comment [A11]: The writer’s voice uses hedging language such as “may”. This is characteristic of academic writing and convey’s the writer’s opinion or attitude (modality).

Comment [A12]: Further use of hedging language. See comment A11.

Comment [A13]: This word indicates a cause and effect relationship and adds cohesion to the text. For more ideas on how to use linking language in English, go to: students/support/helps/self-help- resources/grammar/transition-signals
3 Annotated comments by David Sotir, HELPS

potential commercial threats of changing consumer attitudes, shareholder

uncertainty and decreased profitability (Business in the Community 2007).

Conversely, the wicked problem presents the business opportunities of

innovation and sustainability. Due to consumer preferences for sustainability, the

WP presents market opportunities for private sector innovation of sustainable

products and technologies (Stern 2007). In effect, the wicked problem encourages

entities to design carbon efficient products in order to satisfy consumer demand

(Forster 2009). For example, companies such as Toyota have gained competitive

advantage by responding to the carbon conscious market and developing hybrid

vehicles (Rigby & Tager 2008). As a result, the wicked problem presents potential

for increased market share and profitability through diversification (Garnaut 2011).

Furthermore, the wicked problem presents commercial opportunities for

promoting sustainability. Incorporating sustainable practices into business strategy

allows greater long-term responsiveness to changes that the wicked problem poses

(Camillus 2008). Such initiatives, including the global accounting of carbon emissions,

are likely to lead to favourable brand image (Ihlen 2009) and competitive advantage

(Porter & Kramer 2006). Businesses may also incorporate sustainability strategies

into supply chains through logistics systems, resulting in efficiency gains (Forster

2009). For example, in response to the wicked problem, Westpac Banking

Corporation has promoted corporate social responsibility, resulting in positive brand

image (Westpac 2012). Consequently, the wicked problem presents commercial

opportunities, generating beneficial outcomes.

Comment [A14]: This word indicates that the paragraph mentions ideas/concepts that are in contrast with those discussed in the previous one – it acts as a link between paragraphs.

Comment [A15]: This expression indicates a cause and effect relationship. It also enhances clarity of the argument.

Comment [A16]: This indicates that additional information will be provided to support the overall argument.

4 Annotated comments by David Sotir, HELPS

In conclusion, as a wicked problem with distinctive constituent features, the

current carbon emissions and climate change debate poses issues and

opportunities for business practice in the dynamic business environment. Comment [A17]: Short concluding sentence strengthens the overall answer. The conclusion should summarise the essay’s key points. No new points or evidence should be introduced here. To watch a video tutorial on writing a conclusion go to: students/support/helps/self-help- resources/academic-writing/essay-writing
5 Annotated comments by David Sotir, HELPS

Reference List

Business in the Community 2007, Business leadership towards a low carbon economy,

Business in the Community UK, viewed 7 March 2010, <>.

Camillus, J. C. 2008, ‘Strategy as a wicked problem’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 86,

no. 5, pp. 98-106. Forster, P. 2009, ‘A wicked problem’, Air Cargo World, vol. 99, no. 6, p. 47. Garnaut, R. 2011, Garnaut review 2011: Australia in the global response to climate change, Cambridge University Press, New York.

Garner, R. & Wong, R. 2010, ‘Passing through carbon costs under the carbon

pollution reduction scheme’, Monash University Law Review, vol. 36, no.1, p. 260.

Head, B. W. 2008, ‘Wicked problems in public policy’, Public Policy, vol. 3, no.2, pp.

101-18. Ihlen, Ø. 2009, ‘Business and climate change: the climate response of the world’s 30

largest corporations’, Environmental Communication, vol. 3, no.2, pp. 244- 62.

Porter, M. E. & Kramer, M. R. 2006, ‘Strategy and society: the link between

competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 84, no.12, pp. 78-92.

Rigby, D. & Tager, S. 2008, ‘Learning the advantages of sustainable growth’, Strategy &

Leadership, vol. 36, no.4, pp. 24-8. Rittel, H. W. J. & Webber, M. M. 1973, ‘Dilemmas in a general theory of planning’,

Policy Sciences, vol. 4, pp.155-69. Stern, N. 2007, The economics of climate change: the Stern review, Cambridge

University Press, New York. Sussman, F. G. & Freed, J. R. 2008, Adapting to climate change: a business approach,

Pew Center of Global Climate Change USA, viewed 7 March 2012, <>.

Westpac Banking Corporation Australia 2012, Westpac Banking Corporation

Australia, viewed 10 March 2012, <>.

NOTE: This entire paper has been submitted to Turnitin® and other anti-plagiarism software. Under no circumstances copy from this or any other paper.

Comment [A18]: Conforms to Harvard- UTS Referencing conventions. For a guide to this style of referencing go to: es/attachments/page/UTS_Interactive%20 Harvard%20Guide.pdf Always check with your course/subject co-ordinator, lecturer or tutor exactly which referencing system you should use.


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