Charles E. Lindblom. The Science of “Muddling Through.” 1959.
Thesis: According to Charles, the United States bureaucracy uses bounded rationality and limited policy analysis in formulating regulations. He states that root analysis is a more comprehensive approach for decision-making than branch analysis. Charles, however, argues that policy makers lack the intellectual capacity to accomplish a root analysis, hence the lack of policy developments in organizations. The author states that a rational decision-making approach is not possible and explains why political maneuvering in decision-making was favorable.
“In the United States, for example, no part of government attempts a comprehensive overview of policy” (165)
“Limits on human intellectual capacities and on available information set definite limits to man’s capacity to be comprehensive.” (164)
This article provides insight to the policy makers in a given organization; prior to making decisions at the workplace, they should gather relevant and sufficient information regarding the impending decision. They should equip themselves with intellectual capabilities that help them analyze and comprehend the impacts of these policies.
Yehezkel Dror. Policy Analysts: A New Professional Role in Government Service. 1967.
Thesis: According to Yehezkel, the primary reform movement in administration of the United States is based on economic approaches. The author discusses the merits and demerits of this approach to making decisions regarding the public. The article also compares the features of policy analysis and systems analysis; Yehezkel also suggests the modifications to improve the policy analysis technique in quest for better public decision.
“The main contemporary reform movement in the federal administration of the United States (and in some countries as well) is based on an economic approach to public decision-making.” (229)
“The invasion of public decision-making by economics is both unavoidable and beneficial” (229)
“In essence, what is required is an integration between revised disciplines of political science and public administration on the one hand and systems analysis, decision theory, and economic theory on the other hand.” (231)
The policy and decision makers should apply the recommendations outlined by the author to include the policy analysis techniques at the workplace. They also should weigh the merits and demerits of the economic approach and decide whether to use it or not for making decisions.
Theodore J. Lowi. The End of Liberalism: The Indictment. 1979.
Thesis: Theodore describes interest-group liberalism as the principal reason for the collapse of democracy in governance. The article highlights four significant ways in which interest-group liberalism corrupts democracy; among them is the weakening of democratic institutions. According to Theodore, capitalism as a public philosophy, died following the expansion of the government after 1932.
“The corruption of modern democratic government began with the emergence of interest-group liberalism as the public philosophy.” (277)
“Finally, interest-group liberalism corrupts democratic government in the degree to which it weakens the capacity of governments to live by democratic formalisms.” (278)
The management of any organization should strive to promote democracy at the workplace. This article facilitates the understanding of the impacts of interest-groups on democracy. Management should use these lessons to shun all interest groups at the workplace and promote bureaucracy.
John W. Kingdon. How Does an Idea’s Time Come? Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies. 1995.
Thesis: John explains how issues dominate the decision agenda in public agencies through a distinction between the development of such issues and alternatives. He also describes the participants of policy making inside and outside the government. According to John, the President is regarded highly in policymaking, but his staff is ranked lowly in terms of their influence on agendas. Those outside the government include researchers, consultants, and the media. The author finds researchers and consultants as significant figures in defining alternatives while the media has indirect effects on agendas and alternatives. The author argues that policy makers should not only seek attention but also formulate the solutions to problems they may encounter during the process.
“The presidents, the Congress, bureaucrats in the executive branch, and various forces outside the government could all be sources of agenda items and alternatives.”(455)
“How often do ideas come from people like policy analysts, researchers, academics, and consultants, or are such people regarded as quaint irrelevances?” (456)
“Policy entrepreneurs, people who are willing to invest their resources in pushing their proposals.are responsible not only for prompting important people to pay attention but also for coupling problems and solutions to politics.” (459)
The article provides insight to policy makers at the workplace to consider the people who set agendas and alternatives to be considered for in public decisions. The author, however, cautions them to not only seek attention from important figures, but also concentrate on coupling solutions and problems in public policymaking.
Deborah Stone. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. 2002.
Thesis: According to Deborah, the assumptions that most public policy makers make during decision-making are flawed. She argues that the combination of missions of various agencies to arrive at a systematic way of making rational policies is wrong. This, according to her, is because the agencies are political and underlying their missions is paradoxical. The author believes that three models, which are reasoning, society, and policy-making rationalize public policy making.
“The fields of political science, public administration, law, and policy analysis have a common mission of rescuing public policy from the irrationalities and indignities of politics hoping to make policy instead.”(593)
“The project of making public policy rational rests on three pillars: a model of reasoning, a model of society, and a model of policy making.” (594)
Public administrators should not politicize policies; they should also avoid pooling missions from similar agencies. They instead should analyze the policies in their organizations and arrive at their own systematic way of formulating them. This will make decision-making at the workplace rational and dignified.