Implementation Studies: Time for a Revival? Personal Reflections on 20 Years of Implementation Studies

Barrett, S. M. (2004) Implementation Studies: Time for a Revival? Personal Reflections on 20 Years of Implementation Studies. Public Administration, 82 (2). pp. 249-262.

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This paper presents a review of three decades of implementation studies and is constructed in the form of a personal reflection. The paper begins with a reflection upon the context within which the book Policy and Action was written, a time when both governments and policy analysts were endeavouring to systematize and improve the public decision-making process and to place such decision-making within a more strategic framework. The review ends with a discussion about how public policy planning has changed in the light of public services reform strategies. It is suggested that as a result of such reforms, interest in the processes of implementation have perhaps been superseded by a focus upon change management and performance targets. It is further argued that this has resulted in the reassertion of normative, top-down processes of policy implementation. The paper raises points that are important ones and indeed are reflected throughout all four papers in the symposium issue. These are: (1) the very real analytical difficulties of understanding the role of bureaucratic discretion and motivation; (2) the problem of evaluating policy outcomes; and (3) the need to also focus upon micro political processes that occur in public services organizations. In conclusion, the paper emphasizes the continued importance of implementation studies and the need for policy analysts to understand what actually happens at policy recipient level.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Public Policy, Policy Making
Author Affiliation: School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol
Subjects: Social Sciences
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2012 05:10
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2012 05:12
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