A wicked problem 5 characteristics of a good research problem pdf a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. The use of the term “wicked” here has come to denote resistance to resolution, rather than evil.
Another definition is “a problem whose social complexity means that it has no determinable stopping point”. Moreover, because of hard interdependencies, the effort to fix one part of a wicked problem may open or create other problems.
The phrase was originally used in social planning. Its modern sense was introduced in 1967 by C.
West Churchman in a guest editorial he wrote in the journal Management Science, responding to a previous use of the term by Horst Rittel. Churchman discussed the moral responsibility of operations research “to inform the manager in what respect our ‘solutions’ have failed to tame his wicked problems”. Webber formally described the concept of wicked problems in a 1973 treatise, contrasting “wicked” problems with relatively “tame”, soluble problems in mathematics, chess, or puzzle solving.
There is no definitive formulation of a wicked problem. Wicked problems have no stopping rule. Solutions to wicked problems are not true-or-false, but better or worse. There is no immediate and no ultimate test of a solution to a wicked problem.