Policy Implementation Operation

This chapter continues our focus on the implementation phase of public policymaking—a phase that involves two interrelated sets of activities.

The shaded portion of Figure 7.1 shows that policy implementation begins with rulemaking, which was the focus of Chapter 7. The second stage in policy implementation, also shown in the shaded portion of Figure 7.1, is the operation of public laws, and that stage is the focus of this chapter. If a policy in the form of a public law is intended to protect people from exposure to toxic substances in their environments, for example, its operation entails the activities involved in actually providing such protection. Operational activities in this situation might include measuring and assessing dangers from substances in the environment, or imposing fines as a means to prevent or restrict environmental pollution.

As was noted in the previous chapter, implementation involves those responsible for implementation in managing human, financial, and other resources in ways that permit attainment of the goals and objectives embodied in enacted legislation. The most important point in understanding policy implementation as part ofthe larger process ofpolicymaking is that it is primarily a management undertaking. The operation stage of implementation involves the actual conduct or running of the programs and processes embedded in enacted public laws. This stage is the domain, although not exclusively, of the appointees and civil servants who staff the government. For any policy, two variables are especially important for a successful operational stage: (1) the policy itself in terms of how it is designed or constructed and (2) certain characteristics of the organization(s) charged with a policy's implementation, including the capability of the managers. Each of these variables is examined in this chapter.

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