Picture of two heads

Open Access research that challenges the mind...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including those from the School of Psychological Sciences & Health - but also papers by researchers based within the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, and from the Strathclyde Business School.

Discover more...

Towards a framework for establishing policy success

Marsh, D. and McConnell, Allan (2010) Towards a framework for establishing policy success. Public Administration, 88 (2). pp. 564-583. ISSN 0033-3298

Full text not available in this repository. (Request a copy from the Strathclyde author)


Claims that a particular policy has been a 'success' are commonplace in political life. However, a few of these claims are justified in any systematic way. This article seeks to remedy this omission by offering a heuristic which practitioners and academics can utilize to approach the question of whether a policy is, or was, successful. It builds initially on two sets of literature: Boyne's work on public sector improvement; and the work of Bovens et al. on success, failure and policy evaluation. We discuss the epistemological issues involved in whether it is possible to produce an objective measure of 'success'. Subsequently, we present a framework for assessing success, focusing on three dimensions: process success; programmatic success; and political success. We then move on to raise a series of what we term complexity issues in relation to success for whom; variations across time, space and culture; and methodological issues.