Importance:Wicked problems are those that are messy and complex and have no obvious solution. Occupational therapists and their clients encounter wicked problems in all areas of practice, and therefore it is essential that they know how to address them.
Objective: To identify the key constructs involved in addressing wicked problems, discover considerations for occupational therapists, and develop a conceptual model that supports how to address these problems.
Design: This study had a critical review design and focused on literature from sectors such as health care, social services, policy, business, management, and leadership. It followed a traditional critical review process and extracted records from Scopus, CINAHL and Ovid databases.
Results: A total of 36 articles were included in the review. The results indicated that, to address wicked problems, one must first identify the problem as wicked. The key constructs identified in the literature include collaboration, leadership, perspectives, and innovation, with collaboration and leadership as the most prominent constructs. Subthemes include interdisciplinary teams and diverse perspectives, visualizing interdependencies, team communication, leadership style, leadership communication, and shared vision.
Conclusions and Relevance: The key constructs identified in this review are interconnected and imperative when addressing wicked problems as depicted in the new Addressing Wicked Problems conceptual model. Occupational therapists are well suited to extend between the traditional role and be key stakeholders in addressing wicked problems by using their leadership and collaboration skills and attitudes.
What This Article Adds: Collaboration, leadership, perspective, and innovation are the key constructs for addressing wicked problems. The Addressing Wicked Problems conceptual model highlights the interconnectedness of these constructs.