TOWARDS INTEGRATED POLICY MAKING

TOWARDS INTEGRATED POLICY MAKING - Published in: Rosenbaum,...

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Published in: Rosenbaum, Allan, Gajdosova Ludmila (Editors), State Modernization and Decentralization. Implications for Education and Training in Public Administration: Selected Central European and Global Perspectives, NISPAcee, 2003. TOWARDS INTEGRATED POLICY MAKING: REMEDYING THE PUBLIC ACTION DICHOTOMY THROUGH INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES AND LEARNING . By Theodore Tsekos Director, United Nations Thessaloniki Centre for Public Service Professionalism Public action becomes concrete through policy making. The totality of the outputs and outcomes resulting from the functioning of administrative agencies are, or are supposed to be, parts of broader frameworks setting and following goals for specific fields of social and economic activity. The rationale of the establishment and development of public organizations resides precisely in the obtaining of deliberate, concrete and tangible results within given policy fields. Each and every aspect of public organizations – strategies, structures, procedures, human resources and relations, communications etc- becomes meaningful only by becoming a part of ongoing policy making and implementation processes. Although public action, in order to be effective, has to be conceived and developed as an integrated system from top to bottom, a dichotomy concerning policymaking occurs habitually on both practical and theoretical grounds. This dichotomy reflects on all dimensions of public policy making: actors, driving values, processes, evaluation criteria etc. Policy analysis and design remains essentially a top-down process involving political -or highly politicized- personnel (elected officials, political appointees, advisors, high ranking career officers etc.). It is outcome oriented and operated on the basis of general criteria such as mission and vision concepts, organizational and environmental values and strategies, political priorities etc. On the contrary, policy implementation is basically a bottom-up process involving middle management and low-level personnel. Implementation activities are mainly guided by intra-organizational priorities and day-to-day management requirements and restrictions. They are short-term output oriented with only vague references to the “big picture” and loose links to the organization’s long-term objectives and strategic priorities and goals. 1
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Figure 1: The “Policy Breach” - Bureaucrats - Intra-organizational priorities & restrictions - Short-term objectives - Output oriented - Political personnel - Mission – vision - General values - Strategic planning - Long-term objectives - Outcome oriented The fact that the two essential stages of the policy-making procedure are practically developed and conducted through two distinct structural and cultural sub- constituencies, produces what one could define as a “Policy Breach” (Figure 1). The unsuitable connection and mismatching of two complementary steps of a process supposed to be linear, leads to the disintegration of the overall rational policy making
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TOWARDS INTEGRATED POLICY MAKING - Published in: Rosenbaum,...

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