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Chapter 9

:

Policy Formulation in Public
Administration

KLB 2213: Introduction to Public Administration
Defining Public Policy
• Public Policy is the blue-print of the government
in providing the various development programs
to people – Dimock, 1957

• Public Policy is a specific set of government plan
and action, which was design to produce a
particular class of effects – Lawrence, 1992

• Public Policy is whatever governments choose to
do or not to do – Thomas, 2002

Theories of Policy Making Process
Policy
Making
Theories
Elite Theory
System
Theory
Group
Theory
Incremental
Theory
1. The Elite Theory
• Public policy as elite preference

• Who: elites that have power, ability to allocate
value

• How: implementation of the preferences and
values of the governing elite; public officials
merely carry out policies decided on by the elites

• Implications/assumptions: public is apathetic
elites agree upon norms; political action is merely
symbolic; protects the status quo

Figure 1: The Elite Model
The Elite Model:
The Elite:
(Policy Formulation)
Administrators:
(Policy Execution)
The Masses:
(Policy Receivers)
Sources: Dye, 2002
2. The System Theory
• Public policy as system output

• Who: individuals, groups, or nations depending upon the scope of
the problem

• How: environment may stimulate inputs into political system,
producing outputs and feedback

• Implications/assumptions: systems implies an identifiable set of
institutions and activities in society that functions to transforms
demands into authoritative decisions requiring the support of the
whole society; implies that the elements of the system are
interrelated, that the system can respond to forces in its
environment, and that it will do so to preserve itself

Figure 2: The System Model
• Environment:
Input
(demand and
wants )
Political
System
(Executive,
Judiciary and
Legislative)
Output
(Policy)
Decision Making
Sources: Easton, 1990 and Kaplan 1976
Feedback channel
3. The Group Theory
• Public policy as group equilibrium

• Who: interest groups, their allies in government

• How: struggle among interest groups with
legislature/executive as referee to manage group
conflict and establish rules of the game

• Implications/assumptions: groups will always
join to press for particular issues, all interests will
have an opportunity for representation

Figure 3: The Group Model
Government
Interest
Group
People
Sources: Dye, 2002
4. The Incremental Theory
• Public policy as variations on the past

• Who: policy makers, legislators, others with a
stake in ongoing programs or problems

• How: continuation of past government activities
with only incremental modifications

• Implications/assumptions: accepts the
legitimacy of established programs; fear of
unintended consequences; sunk costs in other
programs may minimize the opportunities for
radical change

Figure 4: The Incremental Model

Development Projects
Years
1980 1990 2000 2010
Sources: Dye, 2002 and Lemay, 2002
Public Policy Process
• Development of public policy often
seen to occur in separate stages

• Each concerns different event in a
sequence of creating policy

• Different actors become involved
with different stages

• Traditionally, public administrators
come in during implementation

• Recently, public administrators seen
to be involved in other stages – e.g.
formulation and evaluation


1. Agenda
Setting
2. Policy
Formulation
3. Policy
Adoption
4. Policy
Implementation
5. Policy
Evaluation
1. Agenda Setting
• The researcher tries to
identify the problem
that is faced by the
stakeholder,
organization, or people.

• The problem must be
placed on the
government policy
agenda – something to
be done
1. Agenda Setting
2. Policy
Formulation
3. Policy Adoption
4. Policy
Implementation
5. Policy
Evaluation
2. Policy Formulation
• Policy maker produce
certain policies to
overcome the identified
problems – what
should be done?

• Begin to develop a
systematic strategy to
solve the problem.
2. Policy
Formulation
3. Policy
Adoption
4. Policy
Implementation
5. Policy
Evaluation
1. Agenda Setting
3. Policy Adoption
• Also known as policy
legitimating.

• The analyst will forward
the proposed policy to
the government for
approval.

• Policy being debated,
approve by majority vote
and then policy gains
legitimacy
3. Policy Adoption
4. Policy
Implementation
5. Policy Evaluation
1. Agenda
setting
2. Policy
Formulation
4. Policy Implementation
• The government will
distribute official
letters, memos, master
plan, and policy to
various government
agencies and ministries.

• May involve activities
such as the creation of
new agencies, bureaus
or department
4. Policy
Implementation
5. Policy
Evaluation
1. Agenda Setting
2. Policy
Formulation
3. Policy Adoption
5. Policy Evaluation
• The assessment of
success (or failure) rate
of the mentioned
policy.

• Ministries and
departments have to
submit their annual
report to the central
government (national
audit)
5. Policy
Evaluation
1. Agenda
Setting
2. Policy
Formulation
3. Policy
Adoption
4. Policy
Implementation
Thank You