In Chapter 2 I introduced the concept of "actor constellations" as the crucial link between substantive policy analyses and interaction-oriented policy research. The basic idea was that the solutions (identified by substantive policy research) to a given policy problem must be produced by the interdependent choices of a plurality of policy actors with specific capabilities and with specific perceptions and preferences regarding the outcomes that could be obtained. Since the choices are interdependent, it is likely that no single actor will be able to determine the outcome unilaterally. What matters is the actor constellation.
In the present chapter I will begin by discussing a variety of characteristic or "archetypal" actor constellations. Since these are represented by simple and highly transparent two-by-two game matrices, it also becomes necessary to discuss the conditions under which this radical simplification of complex real-world constellations might be methodologically permissible. Next I will return to an issue that was mentioned but postponed in the previous chapter: Game matrices are usually taken to represent the worldviews of players who only care about their own payoffs. In real-world interactions, however, it is often the case that actors do care very much, positively or negatively, about the payoffs that others will receive. Thus it is necessary to show how these "interaction orientations" could be integrated into the analysis of actor constellations. The chapter concludes with a discussion of normative criteria by which the problem-solving capacity of different types of policy interactions can be evaluated.
In the most general sense, anything that ego considers desirable (or undesirable) may become a policy problem if changes in the desired direction are possible in principle but cannot be achieved by ego acting alone because others are either causing the problem or have control over some action resources that are necessary for its resolution ( Coleman 1990). Of course that does not imply that all of these problems need to be resolved through public policy, or for that matter