- In the perfect world, there is a symbiotic relationship between the policy maker and the agent of implementation. Describe that relationship at its best and at its worst.
At its best, the relationship between the policy maker and the agent of implementation enables collaboration between the two, which in turn ensures the effective and quick implementation of policies. Not only do these policies get enacted quickly, but the said implementation initiative also has more chances of succeeding as the agents of implementation will support the policy and ensure that all the resources necessary for a successful implementation are provided (“Creating Value through Collaboration”).
On the other hand, this relationship at its worst can lead to a lack of collaboration between the policy maker and the agent of implementation, which in turn can lead to a deadlock in the policy’s implementation in that it may be stalled. More particularly, this deadlock can occur if the agent of implementation refuses to impose the policy by showing outright protest or contradictory views on the policy. The agent of implementation may also deny the provision of the resources that would enable the effective implementation of the policy. Moreover, if the policy maker and the agent of implementation have conflicting interests then each party is bound to protect or prioritize its own interests and would refuse to cooperate with each other for the fear that giving in to the other party’s requests would put them in a bad light or would hold them accountable should things go wrong. In this case, the relationship becomes competitive in that both parties work towards being able to enforce what is best for their group or their initiative instead of trying to find a common ground that would enable both parties to achieve their goals. Moreover, a bigger harm that may result from this lack of cooperation between the policy maker and the agent of implementation is that the problems that the policy is supposed to address or resolve would remain unresolved. This can lead to detrimental effects for the constituents for whom the policy would apply. For example, if the policy is on healthcare then delays or issues with the implementation of the healthcare policy may result in the public’s health status continuing to corrode. On the other hand, if the policy concerns education then the delays or hindrances to the policy’s implementation can result in missed opportunities or to the delayed resolution of problems that are linked to the education problems that the policy is supposed to address.
As well, this lack of cooperation between the two parties will lead to the poor or ineffective evaluation of the policy, which will prevent the policy maker from receiving objective and comprehensive feedback that would enable the modifications that may need to be made on the policy (Pressman & Wildavsky, 1984). In the same manner, this can prevent decision makers from effectively analyzing the problem and coming up with alternative ways for solving the problem. If the policy makers and the agent of implementation fail to cooperate with each other then this can lead to both parties acting in their spheres of responsibility or authority without having an analysis of the big picture. In contrast, by having a clear perspective on a problem from both the policy maker and the implementer’s points of view, a better and more holistic solution may be reached, which will not be in conflict with either party’s interests.
- One of the goals of an organization that hopes to succeed in being adept at implementing new programs is the movement to becoming a “learning organization.” Describe the organization must be attributes of a learning organization,” and how they impact the implementation process. Take the opportunity to weave Pressman’s and Wildavsky’s concepts of adaptation and exploration, and the importance of program evaluation.
A learning organization is an organization that is capable of changing its mindsets and behaviors as a result of experience. In particular, learning organizations create environments that promote learning and leadership on all levels of the organization, making the organization more accountable for its actions and making the organizational members more responsible for their actions. Moreover, it leads to the development of a distributed leadership in that members of a learning organization work towards a shared vision where possibilities and initiatives are explored in efforts to determine if they might fit the organization’s strategic direction. In addition, the members of a learning organization have a strong peer support and network of relationships, which gives them a sense of psychological safety, in turn enabling them to more easily accept change (“A Conceptual Model for Managed Cultural Change”). More specifically, this psychological safety is necessary in order for these organizational members to overcome their learning anxiety, which manifests in the forms of the fear of temporary incompetence, the fear of punishment for incompetence; the fear of loss of personal identity; and the fear of loss of group membership (“A Conceptual Model for Managed Cultural Change”). As well, learning organizations take advantage of the distributed intelligence that exists within the organization.
The organization also fully engages with both internal and external stakeholders. In particular, the organization responds to the issues identified by the stakeholders. Such issues may be identified during the program evaluation phase of the policy-making and implementation process. With the feedback obtaining during this phase, the organization is able to implement changes in the policy and in its organizational behaviors and cultures. In other words, a learning organization is able to learn and unlearn its behaviors and processes in order to address or respond to the feedback received during the program evaluation phase. Likewise, the capability of the organization to continue learning enables it to integrate into its culture a mindset that is oriented towards sustainability.
In the same regard, this can be linked to Pressman and Wildavsky’s concept of adaptation and exploration in that according to the authors, the policy design and implementation process consists of the interaction, evolution, mutual adaptation, and exploration phases (Pressman & Wildavsky, 1984). The authors further assert that this process is recursive (Pressmann & Wildavsky, 1984). As such, this process can be likened to the attributes of a learning organization in that the learning processes that takes place in these organizations is a continuous and recursive ;process. Adaptation to changes is also required to enable learning in that the organization and its members must be able to readily adapt to changes in order to enable learning. Similarly, exploration also occurs in learning organizations in that learning takes place as the organization and its members explores new ways of doing things or new solutions to problems.
Finally, learning organizations can be characterized as innovative where the members are not afraid to take calculated risks in the effort to improve the organization’s processes or develop new initiatives that would support the achievement of the organization’s strategic goals. When relating this to the policy implementation process, the attributes of a learning organization must be adapted in that only when the agents of implementation are willing to adapt to change, accept change, unlearn, and relearn will they be able to successfully implement policies.
- Skilled leadership is an integral part of any organization that wishes to be effective at implementing policy. Discuss the role of the leader – (using Follet’s theories of power, conflict, etc.) and Moore’s re-engineering, the Strategic Triangle, etc.
The role of a leader using Follet’s theory of power can be taken in two contexts. One is the “power over” and the other is the “power with” context ("Power”). With the former, the leader’s role is to use his or her power to coerce people to follow his or her instructions or to follow the goals or policies that he or she implements. This can be likened to the coercive power that leaders like Adolf Hitler and Osama Bin laden employed. On the other hand, the latter involved the use of non-coercive power. This involved processes such as employee participation and negotiation. This led to a leadership where everyone wins. This can be likened to the leadership employed by Mahatma Ghandi or Martin Luther King where the leaders inspired the followers to follow and where the followers were also empowered by their leaders. In the same regard, Follet's theory of conflict advocates an approach that is open to diversity and where the conflict is used as an opportunity to develop an integrated solution and not just merely compromise. In this context, the role of leadership is to ensure that conflicts are managed well and that the conflict resolution process becomes constructive and leads to positive outcomes.
Another leadership role would be the initiation and implementation of process improvement initiatives. This is in accordance to Moore’s concept of reengineering (Moore, 1995) where work processes and workflows are redesigned modified in order to increase the level of customer satisfaction that an organization achieves and in order to better achieve its strategic objectives. This leadership role is most especially seen in learning organizations where a leader promotes learning by using feedback from process or program evaluation initiatives in order to implement changes or improvements in the organization’s workflows or processes. In the same regard, it is the leader’s role to instigate, implement, and manage change.
Finally, a leader’s role, in accordance to Moore’s Strategic Triangle (Moore, 1995), is to ensure that the organization has the resources and capacity it needs to achieve its strategic objective and that the necessary authorization and support for the use of these resources and capacities is provided. In particular, according to Moore’s Strategic Triangle model, performance can be improved and value can be created by ensuring that both the organizational capacity and resources and the authorizing environment work together (Moore, 1995). More particularly, value within the organization can be created only if the organization has the necessary capacities and resources for creating the value and that these resources and capacities work together with the organizational processes.. On the other hand, the support and approval of the organization with regards to the use of its capacities and resources is necessary in order for these resources to be used for the achievement of the organization’s goals.
Creating value through collaboration.
Moore, M. H. (1995). Creating public value: Strategic management in government. Political
Pressman, J. L. & Wildavsky, A. (1984). Implementation. University of California Press.