Jeffrey S. Luke
University of Oregon
The act of stimulating the formulation and implementation of public policy among multiple, diverse stakeholders and constituencies. Policy leadership is different from the more common notions of organizational leadership ; policy leadership mobilizes attention to problematic conditions, and then forges agreement on appropriate policy responses among-diverse, often competing groups and constituencies.
There exists no universally accepted definitions that clearly distinguish policies from non-policies; as a result, there is considerable ambiguity about what constitutes a policy (Polsby 1984). A public policy is generally characterized as a combination of decisions, commitments, and actions directed toward achieving a particular outcome or result which is deemed in the public interest. Public policies can be further distinguished from public programs and projects; a public program is a set of concrete actions and implementation steps directed toward the attainment of a public policy, while a project is typically a single segment or operating activity within a program. A second distinguishing characteristic is that public policies are different from organizational policies; organizational policies are directed at influencing the behavior of employees to achieve an agency's goal or objective.