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Erik Johnston

Erik Johnston

Associate Professor, School of Public Affairs, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions

erik.johnston@asu.edu

602-496-1103

School of Public Affairs
Arizona State University
411 N Central Ave, UCENT 422G
Phoenix, AZ 05004-0687

Titles

  • Senior Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
  • Associate Professor, School of Public Affairs, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions
  • Director, Center for Policy Informatics, School of Public Affairs
  • Affiliated Faculty, Center for Behavior, Institutions and the Environment, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Biography

Johnston's research focuses on Policy informatics, the study of how computational and communication technology is leveraged to specifically understand and address complex public policy and administration problems and realize innovations in governance processes and institutions. His research explores how our governance systems can evolve to address increasingly complex challenges, and to meet the rising expectations of people to be full participants in their governance systems, what changes we need to make in technology, processes, institutional capacity and social norms to realize that future. Stakeholders are becoming more diverse, unequal, vocal and polarized, which will require the development of effective solutions, including creative approaches to collaborative governance, participatory decision-making and the ability to identify and mitigate the causes of social and environmental conflict. Reducing health and infrastructure vulnerability to current and future threats requires innovative, interdisciplinary approaches integrating basic and applied natural and social science in a framework that not only provides stakeholders with new evidence to support effective decision-making, but also accelerates the identification of the next series of important questions that research must address. These interests are catalyzed through three current research focuses: open governance, participatory modeling, and smarter governance infrastructures.

As a dedicated action researcher, Johnston has received external funding from the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. He helped to lead a team at ASU that is studying how people come together to collaborate, using 10,000 Solutions, a university-wide challenge platform to propose answers to every problem from education to human rights. He was an organizer behind the ASU Policy Challenge, an ideation contest for contributing policy suggestions to the White House. He is currently leading a research project on how engendering empathy can affect decision-making for resource sharing. 

Johnston is the editor of Governance in the Information Era: Theory and Practice of Policy Informatics, published by Routledge Press (which reached #1 New Release in Information Theory on Amazon). His many publications include “The influence of collaboration on program outcomes: The Colorado Nurse-Family Partnership,” “A Computational Approach to Managing Performance Dynamics in Networked Governance Systems,” “Governance Infrastructures in 2020” and “Managing the Inclusion Process in Collaborative Governance.”

With undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Psychology as well as a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters of Science in Information Technology from the University of Denver, Johnston holds a Ph.D. in Information from the University of Michigan with a certificate on complex systems. He is a two-time NSF IGERT fellow, in the STIET (Socio-Technical Infrastructure for Electronic Transactions) and IDEAS (Institutions, Diversity, Emergence, Adaptation, and Structures) programs. In 2014 he received the ASU Faculty Achievement Award for Best Professional Application for his work on opening governance. In 2015 he received a distinguished teaching award from the School of Public Affairs, as well as the Public Service Educator Award from the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, and is a two-time Provost Teaching Fellow. He received the 2016 Outstanding Transit Innovation Award from AzTA and ADOT for his work on the team designing the workshop that produced the first draft of Proposition 104, Phoenix’s $31.5 billion transportation ballot initiative. The team also received a letter of highest commendation and appreciation from the city of Phoenix. 

Education

  • PhD, Information, University of Michigan, 2007
  • Graduate Certificate, Complex Systems, University of Michigan, 2007
  • BS, Computer Science and Psychology, University of Denver, 2000
  • MBA, Business Administration, University of Denver, 2000
  • MS, Information Technology, University of Denver, 2000

Expertise

Journal Articles

2018

Hondula, D. M., E. R. Kuras, J. Longo and E. W. Johnston. 2018. Toward precision governance: Infusing data into public management of environmental hazards. Public Management Review 20(5):746-765. DOI: 10.1080/14719037.2017.1320043. (link )

2017

Wald, D. M., E. Segal, E. W. Johnston and A. Vinze. 2017. Understanding the influence of power and empathic perspective-taking on collaborative natural resource management. Journal of Environmental Management 199:201-210. DOI: doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.05.030.

2016

Imperial, M. T., E. W. Johnston, M. Pruett-Jones, K. Leong and J. Thomsen. 2016. Sustaining the useful life of network governance: Life-cycles and developmental challenges. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14(3):135-144.

Imperial, M. T., S. Ospina, E. W. Johnston, R. O'Leary, J. Thomsen, P. Williams and S. Johnson. 2016. Understanding leadership in a world of shared problems: advancing networked governance in large landscape conservation. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment 14(3):126-134.

2015

Johnston, E. W. and K. C. Desouza. 2015. Governance in the information Era: Theory and practice of policy informatics.

2014

Auer, J. C., C. Kao, L. Hemphill, E. W. Johnston and S. D. Teasley. 2014. The uncertainty challenge of contingent collaboration. Human Resource Management Journal 24(4):531-547. DOI: 10.1111/1748-8583.12045. (link )

Lampe, C., P. Zube, J. Lee, C. H. Park and E. Johnston. 2014. Crowdsourcing civility: A natural experiment examining the effects of distributed moderation in online forums. Government Information Quarterly 31(2):317-326. DOI: 10.1016/j.giq.2013.11.005. (link )

2013

Hu, Q., P. Johnston and L. Hemphill. 2013. Fostering cooperative community behavior with information technology tools: The influence of a designed deliberative space on efforts to address collective challenges. The Journal of Community Informatics 9(1):. (link )

Krishnamurthy, R., A. Bhagwatwar, E. W. Johnston and K. C. Desouza. 2013. A glimpse into policy informatics: The case of participatory platforms that generate synthetic empathy. Communications of the Association of Information Systems 33(1):21. (link )

Lucio, J. D., J. C. Auer and E. W. Johnston. 2013. Neighborhood diversity: Framework for municipalities. State and Local Government Review 45(1):48-56. DOI: 10.1177/0160323X12471955. (link )

Lucio, J. D., J. C. Auer and E. W. Johnston. 2013. Neighborhood diversity: Framework for municipalities. State and Local Government Review 45(1):48-56. DOI: 10.1177/0160323X12471955. (link )

2012

Hu, Q. and E. W. Johnston. 2012. Using a wiki-based course design to create a student-centered learning environment: Strategies and lessons. Journal of Public Affairs Education 18(3):493-512. (link )

Hu, Q., E. Johnston, L. Hemphill, R. Krishnamurthy and A. Vinze. 2012. Exploring the role of interactive computer simlations in public administration education. Journal of Public Affairs Administration 18(3):513-530. (link )

Kelley, T. M. and E. Johnston. 2012. Discovering the appropriate role of serious games in the design of open governance platforms. Public Adminstration Quarterly 36(4):533-554. (link )

2011

Johnston, E. W., D. Hicks, N. Nan and J. C. Auer. 2011. Managing the inclusion process in collaborative governance. Journal of Public Administration and Theory 21(4):699-721. DOI: 10.1093/jopart/muq045. (link )

Johnston, E. W., Q. Hu and J. Auer. 2011. Lost in translation: Overcoming barriers of integrating evidence with practice. International Journal of Critical Infrastructures 7(4):317-334. DOI: 10.1504/IJCIS.2011.045067. (link )

Kim, Y., E. W. Johnston and H. S. Kang. 2011. A computational approach to managing performance dynamics in networked governance systems. Public Performance & Management Review 34(4):580-597. DOI: 10.2753/PMR1530-9576340407. (link )

2010

Johnston, E. 2010. Governance infrastructures in 2020. Public Administration Review 70(Supple. s1):s122-s128. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6210.2010.02254.x. (link )

2009

Nan, N. and E. W. Johnston. 2009. Using multi-agent simulation to explore the contribution of facilitation to GSS transition. Journal of the Association for Information Systems 10(3):Art. 2. (link )

2008

Hicks, D., C. Larson, C. Nelson, D. L. Olds and E. Johnston. 2008. The influence of collaboration on program outcomes: The Colorado Nurse-Family Partnership. Evaluation Review 32(5):433-477. DOI: 10.1177/0193841X08315131. (link )

Johnston, E. W., N. Nan, W. Zhong and D. Hicks. 2008. Between implementation and outcomes, growth matters: Validating an agent-based modeling approach for understanding collaboration process management. The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal 13(3):Art. 7. (link )

Nan, N., E. W. Johnston and J. S. Olson. 2008. Unintended consequences of collocation: Using agent-based modeling to untangle effects of communication delay and in-group favor. Computational & Mathematical Organization Theory 14(2):57-83. DOI: 10.1007/s10588-008-9024-4. (link )

2007

Johnston, E., Y. Kim and M. Ayyangar. 2007. Intending the unintended: The act of building agent-based models as a regular source of knowledge generation. Interdisciplinary Description of Computer Systems 5(2):81-91. (link )

2004

Johnston, E. and D. Hicks. 2004. Speaking in teams: Motivating a pattern language for collaboration. Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems 2(2):136-143. (link )

Books

2015

Johnston, E. W. ed. 2015. Governance in the Information Era: Theory and Practice of Policy Informatics. Routledge. ISBN: 978-1138832084.

Book Chapters

2012

Johnston, E. W., K. C. Desouza, Q. Hu and R. Krishnamurthy. 2012. Adding a complex adaptive systems approach to public administration research. Pp. 68-93 In: Gerrits, L. and P. Marks eds., COMPACT I: Public Administration in Complexity. Emergent Publications.

2011

Johnston, E. W. and D. J. Hansen. 2011. Design lessons for smart governance infrastructure. Pp. 197-212 In: Balutis, A., T. F. Buss and D. Ink eds., Transforming American Governance: Rebooting the Public Square. Taylor & Francis. ISBN: 9780765627704.

Posters

2015

Morse, D., R. Greenhouse and E. W. Johnston. 2015. Effects of public outreach best management practices on high water use. Poster presented at the Decision Center for a Desert City Annual Poster Symposium, April 27, 2015, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.

2014

Brancati, O., J. Kros and E. Johnston. 2014. The role of legislators in determining the management of Arizona’s water. Poster presented at the Decision Center for a Desert City Annual Poster Symposium, April 28, 2014, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.

Krishnamurthy, R., D. M. Wald, E. W. Johnston and A. Vinze. 2014. Power imbalances influence collaborative decision making: Interactive computer simulation. Poster presented at the AAAS 2014 Annual Meeting, Meeting Global Challenges: Discovery and Innovation, February 13-17, 2014, Chicago, IL.

Krishnamurthy, R., D. M. Wald, E. W. Johnston and A. Vinze. 2014. Power imbalances influence collaborative decision making: Interactive computer simulation. Poster presented at the Decision Center for a Desert City Annual Poster Symposium, April 28, 2014, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.

2013

Krishnamurthy, R., E. W. Johnston, M. Vijayakumar and A. Vinze. 2013. Fostering perspective-taking in collaborative decision making through an interactive computer simulation. Poster presented February 17, 2013 at the Decision Making Under Uncertainty (DMUU) Session of the AAAS Annual Meeting, February 14-18, 2013, Boston, MA.

Krishnamurthy, R., E. W. Johnston, M. Vijayakumar and A. Vinze. 2013. Fostering perspective-taking in collaborative decision making through an interactive computer simulation. Poster presented on May 1, 2013 at the Decision Center for a Desert City Annual Poster Symposium, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.

Vijayakumar, M., E. W. Johnston and R. Krishnamurthy. 2013. Sustainability, collaboration and uncertainty: A scenario—based evaluation of water issues for desert cities using computer simulation. Poster presented February 17, 2013 at the Decision Making Under Uncertainty (DMUU) Session of the AAAS Annual Meeting, February 14-18, 2013, Boston, MA.

Vijayakumar, M., E. W. Johnston, R. Krishnamurthy and A. Vinze. 2013. Sustainability, collaboration and uncertainty: A scenario—based evaluation of water issues for desert cities using computer simulation. Poster presented on May 1, 2013 at the Decision Center for a Desert City Annual Poster Symposium, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.

2012

Dudhbhate, G., E. W. Johnston, A. Vinze, R. Krishnamurthy, D. Desai and Q. Hu. 2012. A decision making game to guide water sustainability related to policy outcomes. Poster presented February 19, 2012 at the AAAS Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Canada, February 16-20, 2012.

Dudhbhate, G., E. W. Johnston, A. Vinze, R. Krishnamurthy, D. Desai and Q. Hu. 2012. A decision making game to guide water sustainability related to policy outcomes. Poster presented on April 25, 2012 at the Decision Center for a Desert City Annual Poster Symposium, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.

Krishnamurthy, R., Q. Hu and E. W. Johnston. 2012. Interactive computer simulations for public administration education. Poster presented March 4, 2012 at the Annual Conference of the American Society for Public Administration, Las Vegas, NV, March 2-6, 2012.

Krishnamurthy, R., Q. Hu and E. W. Johnston. 2012. Interactive computer simulations for public administration education. Poster presented on April 25, 2012 at the Decision Center for a Desert City Annual Poster Symposium, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.

Presentations

2017

Hondula, D. M., M. Chavez, J. Harlow, A. Middel, E. W. Johnston and J. K. Vanos. 2017. Thermal comfort and shade provision at City of Phoenix bus stops. Presentation at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, April 5-9, 2017, Boston, MA. (link )

2014

Johnston, E. W. 2014. Designing networks for nature: The art and science of resilient collaboration. Presentation at the Conservation in Metropolitan Regions Track of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Conference, March 13-14, 2014, Denver, CO. Presented March 14, 2014 as part of the Conservation in Metropolitan Regions Track of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Conference, March 13-14, 2014, Denver, CO.

Johnston, E. W. 2014. Governance as a complex system. Presentation at the SKIN (Simulating Knowledge and Innovation Networks) 3 Workshop: Joining Complexity Science and Social Simulation for Policy, May 22-23, 2014, Budapest, Hungary. Keynote speaker at SKIN (Simulating Knowledge and Innovation Networks) 3 Workshop: Joining Complexity Science and Social Simulation for Policy, May 22-23, 2014, Budapest, Hungary.

Wald, D. M., E. W. Johnston, K. Leong and L. A. Ogden. 2014. The challenge of networked governance for large landscapes and natural resource conservation. Presentation at the Pathways 2014 Conference: Integrating Human Dimensions into Fish and Wildlife Management, October 5-9, 2014, Estes Park, CO. Presented October 8, 2014 at the Pathways 2014 Conference: Integrating Human Dimensions into Fish and Wildlife Management, October 5-9, 2014, Estes Park, CO.

Wald, D. M., E. W. Johnston and A. Vinze. 2014. The dynamics of shared governance for collaborative wildlife management. Presentation at the Pathways 2014 Conference: Integrating Human Dimensions into Fish and Wildlife Management, October 5-9, 2014, Estes Park, CO. Presented October 7, 2014 at the Pathways 2014 Conference: Integrating Human Dimensions into Fish and Wildlife Management, October 5-9, 2014, Estes Park, CO.

Wald, D. M., E. W. Johnston and A. Vinze. 2014. Understanding the influence of power on collaborative decision making for the management of natural resources. Presentation at the North American Congress for Conservation Biology, July 13-16, 2014, Missoula, Montana.

2013

Johnston, E. W. 2013. Problem framing: Obstacles to translating evidence to practice. Presentation at the State of Science in Policy Decision-Making Plenary Session at the The Nature Conservancy All Science Conference for Nature and People, December 10-12, 2013, Santa Clara, CA. Presented December 10, 2013 at the State of Science in Policy Decision-Making Plenary Session at the The Nature Conservancy All Science Conference for Nature and People, December 10-12, 2013, Santa Clara, CA.

Krishnamurthy, R., E. W. Johnston and A. Vinze. 2013. Fostering empathy in collaborative decision making to reduce conflict and improve collective outcomes with interactive computer simulation. Paper presented June 22, 2013 at the Public Management Research Conference, June 20-22, 2013, Madison, Wisconsin.

Krishnamurthy, R., E. W. Johnston and A. Vinze. 2013. Fostering perspective-taking in collaborative decision making through computer mediated simulation. Paper presented by Erik Johnston at the Annual Conference of the American Society for Public Administration, Governance & Sustainability: Local Concerns, Global Challenges, March 15-19, 2013, New Orleans, LA.

2012

Johnston, P. and R. Krishnamurthy. 2012. Using a complex systems framework to teach students to ask questions. Presented by Rashmi Krishnamurthy on October 18 at the 2012 National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration Annual Conference, Austin, Texas, October 18-20, 2012.

2011

Hu, Q. and P. Johnston. 2011. Fostering collaboration through IT tools: the influence of a designed deliberative space on efforts to address collective challenges. Presented June 3, 2011 at the 11th Annual Public Management Research Conference, Syracuse, New York.

Johnston, P. and J. Auer. 2011. Managing uncertainty in collaborative governance – a multi-method study using agent-based models. Presented at the American Society of Public Administration Annual Conference, March 11-15, 2011, Baltimore, Maryland.