Integrating complex business networks in Tourism is a wicked problem. Many different business owners have various goals and management approaches. A tourist network is often managed through coordination and partnerships because the sheer complexity of trying to be competitive makes little sense when so many businesses have a common goal. In this paper we explore how thinking in network terms in tourist business networks actually sheds light on how to manage wicked problems in general. In particular, we focus on how the network approach to managing complex networks in business may produce leverage points for synthesising managerial tension points between partners and thereby facilitate innovation systems. We argue that the network approach may shed light on how to build platforms for gaining traction and synthesis in wicked problems. We conclude with suggestions for future research.
I present a model of ’engagement’ to explain how strategic decision makers use different concepts simultaneously to tame wicked problems in a modern business environment. Attention is placed on ’framing’ and ’reframing’ and how this can lead to the resolution of complex problems. I analyze a longitudinal case study of a transport logistics company, where a complex problem was framed through one set of concepts, reframed by another, and eventually tamed. I argue that strategic problem solving involves an engagement of different ideas and a process of reframing to tame wicked problems. Particular attention is paid to how the key actors interacted and how these interactions influenced ’engagement’. I conclude by relating this to modern European managers and the emergent problems they face.