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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