Sample Public Administration Case Study Paper on Role of A Policy Analyst

Role of A Policy Analyst

            The first mistake the policy analyst made was failure to coordinate and liaise effectively with the local communities and especially the political bureaucrats and opinion leaders in the community. The fundamental role of a policy analyst to design, draft and implement policies. However, depending on the system of democracy adopted in any given society and the leadership styles of the policy makers and politicians, the confine within policy analysts operate is relatively fluid. This amorphous nature of the environment in which policy analysts operate sometimes present significant professional challenges that must be overcome for any policy to be effectively designed, passed and implemented to meet the needs of the targeted population. By failure to effectively liaise with the local community first, he failed to identify the various interests at play. The community is highly democratic and has adopted postmodernism democracy which calls for the citizens’ stories to be reflected in the policies. He ought to have incorporated all the voices in the policy development process. As a result, he failed as an effective community facilitator is one of the fundamental roles of a policy analyst (Clemons and McBeth 232).

            He also failed to inculcate effective interpersonal skills including effective communication strategies. He did not carry out a thorough research on the target audience which would have enabled him identify its complexity and therefore come up with an action plan to address the various parties with different interests in the proposed program. This lack of background information on his audience and inadequate communication skills is reflected in the shouting march he engaged the dissenting voices. This did not even sit well with the members present at the meeting who did not stand against the women and a few days later voted against the program. He was isolated as an outsider who has no connection with the area including its culture.   

            If I was the analyst and I had the opportunity to start all over again, I would first familiarize myself with the local community. Since the proposed program was going to affect their lives, it would be imperative that I heard their say and their narratives considered as expert opinion on the program. These initial meetings would have helped me identify the key opinion leaders in the community especially political leaders who are important when it comes to passing policies and also garnering political support for the program. After identifying the various interests at play, I would have identified key areas of the policy that might lead to conflicts and strategize on how such conflicting interests can be met within the policy objectives which I would explain objectively to the residents prior to such a big meeting. Such prior meetings would have reduced chances of these outbursts as I shall have managed most of their expectations and clarified key conflicting issues.

            Moreover, such prior meetings would have relatively reduced the veil of being an outsider to the community. It will allow me to develop some rapport with the local community while also improving my interpersonal skills. The community would be more accepting if I first establish some form of relation, albeit, temporary. The first contact will also be integral in demystifying the notion that the University sponsoring the program had ulterior motives. This is one of the contentious issues that led to the rejection of the program. However, with the help of the university, I will be able to show the community that the university is a development partner and not some organization which dishes out money with ulterior motive of holding the community hostage.

            As Clemons and McBeth notes democracy is characterized by rigorous exchanging of opinions and ideas (223). When faced with such a scenario where my meeting is hijacked like in this case, my first step tom dealing with such a situation would be to keep a level-headedness. This will ensure that the meeting and my conversation with the individuals with dissenting opinions does not descend into a shouting like in this case. Therefore, I would request them to air their opinions in an organized while pausing my presentation to listen to them while also allowing the audience to listen to them and form their opinion. Therefore, instead of the meeting becoming a presentation of the university’s proposed economic program aimed at sustainable development in the community, I would turn the meeting into a mini public debate. Such an open challenge would enable the public to discern bias and self-interests. The public will have the opportunity to engage in a democratic public debate about the issue therefore reducing tensions.         

            In conclusion, the dynamics of the modern day societies have significantly transformed the roles of policy analysts. Such posts increasingly demand for collaboration especially with the citizens and other stakeholders. These transformations as a result of an overly democratic society have made the profession more challenging today. However, the centrality of policy makers in overall developmental scheme of any political system has not been lost even with the spread of postmodernism democracy culture.

Works Cited

Clemons, Randy S. and McBeth Mark K. “Chapter 7: Doing Democracy: A New Fifth Step. In Public Policy Praxis: A Case Approach for Understanding Policy and Analysis (2nd ed). London: Routlege, 2009.