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Processes and Dynamics of Policy Analysis

Processesand Dynamics of Policy Analysis

Evenif the process of decision making is very crucial in policy making,it is irrefutably preceded by political or analytical activities(bargaining, generation of options, etc.), closely trailed by equallysignificant policy planning events (such as implementation andassessment). Generally, a coherent viewpoint of the protocols ofpolicy making places analytical rationality within the context ofinstitutional and political aspects. In this regard, scholars haveabsorbed themselves with writing accounts that avail leaders ineducation with readable resources that focus on the processes anddynamics of policy analysis. This script is a synthesis paper ofchapters 5 to 8 of the book PolicyAnalysis for Educational Leaders: A step-by-step Approach,by Nicole A. Alexander. In her text, Dr. Alexander (2012) conciselytakes her audience through the processes and dynamics of theprotocols of conducting an effective policy analysis. Undoubtedly,Alexander’s text is educative simply because it contains vitalpolicy procedures which can be employed by educational leaders todesign and implement operative educational policies for the bestlearning outcomes. By the same token, this script will alsosynthesize the first chapter of the text ReformingEducation: Public Policy Design and Implementation,by Christine Musselin and Pedro Teixeira (hereafter M&amp Musselinand Teixeira (2014). Resembling Alexander’s text, Musselin andTeixeira’s (2014) book also walks its readers through a conceptualframework for educational policy analysis. At face value, one mightthink that both books confer a similar framework for policy analysisby virtue of having the same items of discussion. However, Musselinand Teixeira’s (2014) text is more potent than Alexander’s (2012)because Musselin and Teixeira’s (2014) book talks about asix-phased conceptual framework for policy analysis whereasAlexander’s (2012) confers a four-phased analytical course.

Inchapter 5 of Alexander’s (2012) text, she notes that the very firststage of policy analysis is establishing organizational drivingstandards by determining the relationship between values and dynamicsthat surround policy decisions. According to Alexander (2012), thisphase involves the examination of organizational dynamics likeeconomics, politics, culture, and social issues that might affectpolicy analysis. Correspondingly, the first step in Musselin andTeixeira’s (2014) text is an exploration of the existing situationby considering organizational dynamics like the political, economic,cultural, and social issues that may affect policy analysis. Withoutdoubt, the second phase of policy analysis is similar in both booksbecause they all identify the generation of policy options as thesecond stage. In chapter 6 of her book, Alexander (2012) notes thatgenerating policy alternatives by modelingthe system is important in identifying the basic policy alternativesand their respective variants (dynamics). Similarly, Musselin andTeixeira (2014) observe that the second phase entails the process ofgenerating policy options, generated to accommodate any unforeseendisequilibrium. The authors observe that there are three analyticalmodes of executing this stage: ad hoc, incremental, importation, andsystemic.

Chapter7 of Alexander’s (2012) book talks about the evaluation of policyalternatives by measuring the effectiveness, cost, equity, and otherrelevant benchmarks by either using a criterion-based or norm basedapproach. Likewise, Musselin and Teixeira (2014) observe that thethird phase involves the evaluation of alternative policy scenariosby creating imaginarysituations that will ensue if a different policy option isimplemented compared to the present circumstances. In chapter 8 ofher text, Alexander (2012) points out that an educational leadermakes recommendation by substantiating how the valueswill be transformed into actual results by launching value-ladenopinions. At this stage, all the values and their related dynamicsare advocated for thereby refining the approaches torecommendations. The fourth phase, according to Musselin and Teixeira(2014), is making the final policy decision, which is the culminationof all the relevant processes of information gathering and carefulanalysis, so that a totally optimal policy might be designed,selected, and implemented. The fifth phase in accordance to Musselinand Teixeira (2014) is policy impact assessment, which is done afterthe policy has been in play long enough to produce results that canbe analyzed for the discernment of effectiveness. The sixth and lastphase, according to Musselin and Teixeira (2014), is subsequentpolicy cycles which entails the entire process of policy planning,design, application, impact assessment, and redesign. Nonetheless,Musselin and Teixeira (2014) observe that this procedure is repeatedin a cyclical sequence in case the policies in play are proven not toadd value.

Asthis paper has substantiated, both of these books are verycompelling. They are fascinating for the simple reason that theycontain vital information that can help educational leaders inplanning, implementing, and evaluating educational policies. Per se,they are potent educational books. However, Musselin and Teixeira’s(2014) text is more enlightening because it confers a six-phasedprocedure of the policy analysis process. This does not necessarilyimply that Alexander’s book is not as good as Musselin andTeixeira’s (2014). Alexander’s (2012) text is equally potent, butdoes not confer comprehensive details on the processes and dynamicsof policy analysis. Alexander’s (2012) book talks about a four-tierprocess, while Musselin and Teixeira’s (2014) confers a six-tierpolicy process. Therefore, it is apparent that Musselin andTeixeira’s (2014) book is more potent and informative because ittalks about policy impact assessment and subsequent policy cyclesvital steps omitted in Alexander’s (2012) text. If two groups (eachusing one text) of educational leaders were to simultaneously sit foran examination after reading these books, the group that usesMusselin and Teixeira’s (2014) book will get relatively higherscores simply because the text confers detailed information about thedynamics of the policy design and implementation process. Hence,Musselin and Teixeira’s (2014) book is more potent and informativethat Alexander’s (2012)


Alexander,N. (2012). PolicyAnalysis for Educational Leaders: A Step by Step Approach.New York, NY: Prentice Hall. Print.

Musselin,C., &amp Teixeira, P. N. (2014). Reforminghigher education: Public policy design and implementation.Dordrecht: Springer. Print.