Chapter 5 summary-1.docx

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10 Apr 2012

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Chapter 5: Policy Implementation
the challenges of organizing and delivering outcomes through the use of various
policy instruments.
The field of public admin has concentrated on implementation for most of its
history because a great deal of it deals with administrative management-
harnessing personnel and other resources in order to get things done
The subject of implementations brings public admin and public policy
analysis about as close as they will ever come
How do we achieve our objectives by organizing services and programs?
The practice of public admin and implementation has been undergoing a
revolution; with decentralization, partnerships, client focus, quality service
delivery, performance and results, special operating agencies, privatization,
commercialization, accountability … the list of New Public Management
practices is long
Implementation and policy design are different but they overlap
o Think of design as the blueprint for the policy and implementation as
its executionis it possible for poorly designed policies to be well
implemented, and good policy designs be poorly implemented?
A well-designed policy with good implementation is the definition of success;
a good idea well executed
o Implementation failure; a good idea that suffers from inadequate
executionsince the design is sound, failure is a matter of
organization, personnel, or resources
o Design failure; the policy is poorly designed in terms of problem
definition, instruments or goals, but it is executed reasonably well
o Total failure; total misery, occurs when both design and
implementation are seriously flawed.
To be realistic, most policies will have shortcomings in design and in
Implementation makes a distinct contribution to the success or failure of a
o ―Implementation is the stage of policymaking between the
establishment of a policy (passage of a legislative act, issuing of an
executive order, judicial decision) and the consequences of the policy
for the people whom it affects… even a brilliant policy poorly
implemented may fail to achieve the goals of its designers‖. –Edwards,
the smart designer builds considerations about implementation into the policy
design from the beginning
this chapter focuses on the principles and mechanisms of implementation, and
the exploding world of new forms of public management and service delivery.
Implementation Theory
In elaborating a set of programs that combine various instruments in order to
put the policy into effect, how do we ensure success?
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Hogwood & Gunn’s classic list of requirements for a successful implementer; (from the
administrator‘s or implementers point of view)
Someone or some organization that has brains, strong planning capacity,
resources, authority to act, and complete understanding of the goals
This illustrates a world of hierarchy and power, where the implementer
decides and those decisions cascade down to the final point of delivery with
obstruction or misinterpretation
Therefore, Hogwood & Gunn conclude that some degree of failure is ―almost
Sabatier & Mazmanian; 3 categories of variables
First, the tractability of the problem; some are easier to deal with than others
Second, legislative and institutional variables; the statutes should be clear, and
the implementing agency well resourced, linkages to cooperating agencies
with strong lines of accountability. Should be implemented by agencies
sympathetic to its goals.
Third; broad socioeconomic and political variables that determine the fate of
implementationmaintaining the sense in the public and political system that
the problem for which the policy is being directed is important and requires
Sabatier & Mazmanian define successful implementation as ―the translation of
statutory objectives into the policy decisions of implementing agencies are
maximized if;
o The statute has clear objectives
o Sympathetic agencies
o Authority
o Resources
o Fidelity to statute and rules
o Leadership
o Public support
It is a lot easier to outline the requirements for successful implementation than
to actually fulfill them
Pressman-Wildavsky implementation model consists of a chain of statistically
independent nodes or clearance points with an attached probability;
First, it is unrealistic to assume that actor will make only one attempt at
clearancethey may persist in multiple tries
Second, clearance points are not always independent; they might be packaged
or bundled in ways so that one clearance ripples through several others
Third, there is a bandwagon effect at times where previous clearances actually
increase the probability of future clearances—‗build momentum‘ on a series
of minor issues before tackling the larger ones
Fourth, program-reduction strategies may be used to shorten the ‗decision
Eugene Bardach; ―what if the character and degree of many implementation problems
are inherently unpredictable?‖
Took the dynamic conceptualization of implementation first developed by
Pressman & Wildavskydynamic in the sense that it occurs over timeand
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arrived at the notion of ―games‖ as a way to understand the defensive nature
of implementation;
o Look at the ‗players‘ what they regard as the stakes—their strategies
and tactics, resources for playing, the rules of play (which stipulate the
conditions for winning)
o Rules of ‗fair play‘ (stipulates the boundaries beyond which lie fraud
or illegitimacy) the nature of communications among players, the
degree of uncertainty surrounding the possible outcomes.
o Some are not willing to play
What makes the implementation game successful?
o Avoid implementation designs that rely on complex management
systems, large organizations; Implement through the market if
possible, deliver cash directly to the people rather than services that
require elaborate bureaucracies, and aim at small feasible targets
o Engage in scenario-writing to work out different possible
consequences of a string of actions and interactions
o Fix the game in the sense of ―repairing‖ it when it goes off the rails
and in the sense of ―adjusting certain elements of the system of games,
so as to lead to a more preferred outcome‖.
o This amounts to paying attention to the policy-formation process
Majone & Wildavsky; urged an image of implementation as evolution, not as control
Since it takes place in a world where we are in the middle of the process
with events having occurred before and we hope to continue after
Implementation is therefore an execution process, elaboration, a realization of
schemes and conceptions; the building of links in often long chains of
decision and agreement
Takes place in a world of multiple powers and authorities, organizations, and
personalities and is therefore inevitably a struggle
Implementation is like a cycle; a combined ―top-down‖ and ―bottom up‖
Forward mapping; begins at the top of the process, with as clear a statement
as possible of the policymaker‘s intent, and proceeds through increasingly
more specific steps to define what is expected of implementers at each level.
At the bottom of the process, one states what a satisfactory outcome would be,
measured in terms of the original statement of intent
Backward mapping; begins with a statement of intent, but with a statement of
the specific behaviour at the lowest level of the implementation process that
generates the need for policy.
Implementation is;
o Multidimentional; can be viewed as an organizational process,
something internal to bureaucracies, and focused on the challenge of
balancing discretion with accountability
o A political process; of bargaining among actors who, while not
necessarily equal in resources, can each affect outcomescan also be
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