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Implementation and Policy

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Applying an Implementation Lens
Balanced Scorecard as a Strategy for Performance Improvement
Building Coalitions
Bureaucratic Politics, Organizational Design and Decision-Making
Cognitive Biases
Defining Policy Problems and Policy Making Under Pressure
Developing Networks for Improvement
Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Instrument Choice
Financing and Fundraising in the Third Sector
Implementation and Policy
Implementation and Policy
Implementation and Risk
Implementation and the Budget Context
Implementation Environment
Implementing through Markets
Implementing with Partners
Improving Organizational Performance Through Competition
Learning as a Performance Strategy
Leveraging Diversity
Managing a Global Team
Managing Conflict
Managing Partnerships: Multi-Party Arrangements
Managing Risk: The “New” Way Forward in Managing?
Mission and Strategy
Models of Policy Making
Modernization of Public Sector Organizations
Multi-Level Governance
Network Assessment and Analysis
Operations and Marketing Strategy
Organizational Alignment
Organizational Behaviour
Organizational Culture
Organizational Performance and Management Reform
Organizing for Collaboration and Partnership
Organizing for Performance
Overview of Recent Trends in Public Administration
Performance Information as a Management Tool
Policy Analysis and Contemporary Governance
Policy Design and Instrument Choice
Policy Evaluation
Public Services in the Age of Restraint - new public service delivery models and the quest to do better with less
Public-Private Partnerships
Recent Trends from Comparative Public Administration
Rules vs. Discretion
The Crisis of “Governability” (1970s) and its Effects
The Meaning of Strategy in Public Management
The Role of Leadership in Strategy and Implementation
The Role of the Board and Strategic Governance in Third Sector Organizations
The Shift to Public Governance
Theories of Human Motivation and Decision Making: Rational Choice
Working in Teams


Implementation and Policy

This teaching topic deals with the relationship between policy and implementation and key underlying concepts. Students learn about the essential tools that are used to execute public policy decisions, and how the choice of tool influences how policy is put into action. It addresses the question of why implementation matters – where it fits in the policy cycle, the interplay between policy (the ‘what’ of decision making) and delivery (the ‘how’), and the new urgency of examining implementation in the context of fiscal pressures facing all governments as well as changing ideas about the role of the state. Students consider how the implementation landscape is shifting, and how some of the newer, collaborative approaches are both promising and problematic.

Topic Learning Outcome:  After mastering this topic, students will understand the role of implementation in the policy cycle, and why implementation matters for policy success.

Core Concepts Associated With This Topic: Bottom-Up Theory of Implementation; Implementation; Forward Mapping (in implementation analysis); Implementation Lenses; Implementation Space; Top-Down Theory of Implementation

Recommended Reading (University of Toronto PPG-1007)

Osborne, D. and T. Gaebler, ‘Catalytic Government: Steering Rather than Rowing’, in  Reinventing Government (New York: Penguin, 1993). Chapter 1, 25-48

Sherri Torjman, "What is Policy?", Caledon Institute, 2005. At (accessed 21 February 2013) and dowloaded pdf.

Salamon, Lester M., ed. The Tools of Government: A Guide to the New Governance. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002). Chapter 1, 1-18.

Dean, Tony, "Is Public Service Delivery Obsolete?", Literary Review of Canada, September 2011. At (accessed 21 February 2013). 

Bardach, Eugene. A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis. (Washington: CQ Press, 2009). Part 1. ‘The Eightfold Path, Step One: Define the Problem’, 1-10 and Appendix B, ‘Things Governments Do’, 127-135.

Tiernan, Anne, ‘Building Capacity for Policy Implementation’, in Improving Implementation: Organizational Change and Project Management, edited by John Wanna, 2007, pp. 113-118. (accessed 21 February 2013) and downloaded pdf.

Graham, Andrew, "Pressman/Wildavsky and Bardach: Implementation in the public sector, past, present and future", Canadian Public Administration, Vol. 48, No. 2, 2005. pp. 268-273. Book Review. 

Winter, Soren, "Implementation", in Guy Peters and Jon Pierre, eds. Handbook of Public Policy. (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage, 2006). 151-164. Literature survey. 

Recommended Reading (Carleton University PADM 5116)

Leslie A. Pal, Beyond Policy Analysis 4th ed. (Toronto: Nelson Education, 2010), chap. 5.

Barry Stemshorn and Robert Slater, “Potential for a Regulatory Breakthrough? Regulatory Governance and Human Resources Initiatives,” in Allan Maslove ed. How Ottawa Spends 2008-2009: A More Orderly Federalism? (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008), 59-81.

Jocelyne Bourgon, “Responsive, Responsible and Respected Government: Towards a New Public Administration Theory,” International Review of Administrative Sciences 73 (2007): 7-26.

Sandford Borins, “Digital State 2.0,” in Policy G. Toner, L.A. Pal, and M.J. Prince (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010), 177-207

Source: PPG-1007 Syllabus, 2012 and 2013., PADM 5116 Syllabus, 2012.

Sample Assessment Questions: 

        1.  What is policy implementation?

        2.  Describe, using at least one example, how ineffective implementation can interfere with the achievement of a policy objective?

        3. The implementation landscape has shifted in recent years. For example, governments increasingly rely on partnerships with non-state actors to deliver programs. Describe some of the possible advantages and drawbacks of the changes in the implementation landscape that have occurred in recent decades.

        4. Describe the “bottom-up” approach to implementation and describe how it differs from the “top-down” approach to implementation.

      Page created by: Ian Clark and Ben Eisen last updated 13 April 2015. 

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