These societal problems, as well as the inherent conflict of interests between the public and the private sector, are typified by a great extent of wickedness. Wicked problems are those conflicting matters confronting the public sector that demand a consolidated partnership by public and private sectors. The civil society, industries, and governments are not capable of addressing these problems independently (Dewulf, Blanken, & Bult-Spiering 2012).
A wicked problem is complex, rather than just complicated, it is often intractable, there is no unilinear solution, moreover, there is no ‘stopping’ point, it is novel, any apparent ‘solution’ often generates other ‘problems,’ and there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer, but there are better or worse alternatives.
Wicked problems within public-private partnership are characterized as recurrent or persistent problems, often defined by indecision and conflict over interests or purposes that could influence the process of decision-making (Hodge & Greve 2005). According to Grint (2005), there are no simple solutions to these wicked problems confronted by PPP. Remarkable progress can be achieved in mitigating them, but they will not be totally eradicated. But the question is, why are PPP problems considered wicked problems?
First of all, organizing or forming PPP is complex due to the challenge of bringing together the objective and interests of the numerous stakeholders— the private sector is composed of lenders, investors and firms supplying operational and construction services; on the other hand, the private sector is made up of public officials developing and enforcing PPP guidelines, those acquiring the PPP, and the public or citizens who utilize the infrastructures that a PPP offers (Biggs & Helms 2007).