They differentiated between a general systemic agenda also referred to as

They differentiated between a general systemic agenda

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They differentiated between a general systemic agenda (also referred to as ‘public agenda’) and a formal agenda on an organisational level. The systemic agenda includes all issues that are perceived as important by the members of a community. The formal agenda deals only with issues explicitly being considered by decision-makers (Cobb et al. 1976, p. 126). The authors identified three biases that are important when researching agenda building processes. First, the formal agenda prioritises older items and the decision makers themselves are biased. Second, the systemic agenda is influenced by legitimacy issues. Third, the legitimacy of a group is enhanced by the status and community standing of its members (Cobb and Elder 1971, p. 909). Cobb and Elder (1971) identified four chronological stages of the agenda-building process. They are: (a) problem initiation, (b) problem specification, (c) issue expansion, and (d) agenda entrance. Based on the behaviour of different actors throughout the four stages Cobb, Ross and Ross (1976) identified ‘three approaches to agenda building’ 9 to explain “the ways in which different subgroups in a population become aware of and eventually participate in, political conflicts whether the issues are initiated by groups in the general public or by political leaders” (p. 126). These three approaches are the ‘outside initiative’ approach, the ‘mobilization’ approach and the ‘inside access’ approach. They are presented in Figure 2.2. 9 The remainder of this thesis refers to Cobb and Elders (1971) and Cobb et al.’s (1976) integrated model as the “three approaches of agenda building”.
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24 Figure 2.2: Three Approaches of Agenda Building Phase Approach Issue initiation Issue specification Issue expansion Agenda entrance Outside initiative Articulation of a grievance in very general terms by a group outside the formal government to the public domain through popular support General grievance translated into specific demands in a variety of ways Outside groups need to create sufficient pressure or interest to attract attention of decision makers When issue is included on formal agenda Mobilisation Institutions and political leaders seek to move issues from formal agenda to public agenda to obtain support Issue is placed straight on formal agenda When decision makers communicate (announcement) that issue is on formal agenda From formal to public agenda through elucidation and specification, to make it ‘palatable’ to public When issue is transferred to public agenda Inside access Within group of initiators Within group of initiators Only to few groups selectively considered important to the passage and implementation of policy When item is included in formal agenda (if possible with minimum number of changes) The strength of Cobb and Elder’s and Cobb et al.’s three approach es to agenda building is their comparatively easy application to actual events. The approaches provide a useful framework to structure events and to explain the approaches of different actors.
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  • Fall '13
  • Government, The Land, International Financial Reporting Standards, Financial Accounting Standards Board, Australian Accounting Standards Board, Snow

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