Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Designing public agencies for 21st century water-energy-food nexus complexity: the case of Natural Resources Wales

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Adam Hejnowicz



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Public environmental organisations face a Herculean task: to be responsive to publicand executive expectations for decentralisation, integration, increasing accountabilitiesand efficiency savings plus, contemporaneously, managing increasingly complex nature–society systems as exemplified by the water–energy–food nexus. The public-agencyinnovation literatures and contingency theory offer partial explanations for this challenge.However, this article, which sits at the intersection of public administration andorganisational theory, proposes a new analytical framework for framing public-agencyresponses to nexus complexity. It first outlines the framework and then tests it on thecase of Natural Resources Wales, the Welsh national natural environment agency. Thiscase identifies six distinct innovations that have adopted to meet complex nexus pressures.This leads us to characterise the case as an example of a multi-scalar, hybrid,adhocratic organisation designed to meet nexus challenges. These findings have widerimpact for the international community of public agencies with socio-environmentalremits facing similar nexus pressures and challenges in the 21st century

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kirsop-Taylor N, Hejnowicz AP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Public Policy and Administration

Year: 2022

Volume: 37

Issue: 4

Pages: 410-430

Print publication date: 01/10/2022

Online publication date: 21/05/2020

Acceptance date: 21/05/2020

Date deposited: 18/02/2021

ISSN (print): 0952-0767

ISSN (electronic): 1749-4192

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd


DOI: 10.1177/0952076720921444


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
funded by The Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity across the Nexus, an ESRC large centre [ES/N012550/1]