Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Policy-Implementation Frame: A Revisit

Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Policy-Implementation Frame: A Revisit

Article excerpt

In Public Policy literature, implementation is discussed as flowing from Policy. In this paper, it is proposed that there is an emerging trend of evidences indicating an inverse relationship-Implementation leading to Policymaking, and Implementation manifesting as Policymaking. Implementation to policymaking happens when a local intervention grows from micro implementation to macro policymaking. The intervention starts with the Ideation of a new initiative, and its transition through the processes of snowballing and crystallization. Implementation as policymaking happens when an intended policy manifests as Emergent Policy (Pe) through the adaptation-mutation process, which can be characterized as Emergent Policy-Adaptation-Mutation (PeAM) Cycle. These conclusions are based on the findings in the literature and on learnings from the experience of projects such as Grameen Bank, Joint Forest Management, Rogi Kalyan Samiti and CNG. This paper seeks to provide a different perspective to direct the attention of policymakers to these possibilities.


The Implementation phase of public policy gained immense importance in the last two decades due to the authors like Wildavsky. Implementation has got fresh impetus in the last decade due to public system initiatives like Reinventing Government and New Public Management (NPM), which succeeded, in bringing Policy Implementation to the forefront. The thrust of public policy writers has been that a policy design, bereft of implementation strategy, is deficient in nature. The focus of these initiatives are towards creating entrepreneurial public system, empowerment, accountability for performance, market modes of control, etc. Also in India, the thrust is moving away from policy and planning to implementation and execution. In this context, Parsons says that the emphasis is shifting to 'post-decisional' analysis (2003). We now have more than a decade of experience, post New Public Management (NPM) and Reinvention in Government, to revisit the traditional thinking of policy-implementation framework.

The search these days by policy- makers and administrators are for successful project interventions and best practices for replication in public system. This is probably a more pragmatic approach than proceeding top down for which planning has been traditionally blamed. However, questions arise about the Policies and Planning that formed the basis of these projects. The related issue that arises is: Have we moved from Planning and Policy Mode to Project and Implementation Mode? The planners no longer talk about input-output model, growth models, and perspective planning. If there is water crisis, look for a urban water project and NPM methodology like outsourcing, than looking at larger picture of urbanization. The recent trends have been towards: Policies than Planning, Projects than Policies, and Execution than Planning and Policies. It would be an useful study to understand this new trend and capture its processes. As Parsons (2003) says, "A primary task for the student of public policy is to understand and clarify the discourse or frameworks which structure the analysis of policy problems, control and processes."

The main theme of the paper is that there is enough evidence to suggest that we are moving from planning paradigm to implementation paradigm. The extant view of implementation flowing from policymaking needs to be revisited, and we need to consider the alternative processes of:

* Implementation to policymaking, a transition from micro implementation to macro policymaking; and

* Implementation as policymaking, a manifestation from intended to emergent policy through adaptation-mutation process.



In the context of theory and practice of policy analysis, Parsons classifies policy and implementation into three phases: (1) Meso Analysis, (2) Decisions Analysis, and (3) Delivery Analysis. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.