Policy analysis and organizational politics

Eden, Colin and Sims, David and Jones, Sue (1979) Policy analysis and organizational politics. European Journal of Operational Research, 3 (3). pp. 207-215. ISSN 0377-2217

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Abstract

It is widely recognized that the formulation and implementation of policy is a ‘political’ process. Yet this aspect of policy and policy making remains rarely explicity included in the analysis and models of the professional policy analyst. Where political aspects have been considered the emphasis has tended to be upon the legitimated political arena rather than internal organizational politics. It is our concentention that to ignore the internal political dimension is to decrease significantly the effectiveness of the policy analyst in aiding and influencing the policy-making process. The purpose of this article is to explore this concentention and specifically to discuss a particular approach to policy analysis derived from it. It is one which involves the construction of models for the policy maker as client that are importantly different in nature from typical rational-scientific models of operational research. The models deliberately attempt to successfully capture his attention and commitment because they reflect the ramifications of his political organizational environment as well as the more legitimate technical aspects of his problem. The conceptual framework and methodology that underlie this approach use concepts and methods drawn from ideas in cognitive psychology and sociology and political science, as well as operational research. The paper discusses these perspectives and points to potential uses of the models we have constructed by providing examples derived specifically from work we are currently undertaking in the public sector.