IMPORTANCE OF POLICY ANALYSIS

The nature and importance of policy analysis  and evaluation in the local sphere of government. … Policy analysis is described as the dissection, isolation and systematic examining and explaining of policy phenomena or components to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of each part or action

Understanding Public Policy Importance of Policy Analysis during the development and Implementation Stages of Public Policy

Policy analysis refers to the process of identifying which of the alternative policies is most likely to accomplish a certain set goals as regards the relationship between the goals and policies at hand. According to Dunn (2003), policy analysis methods offer the means needed to evaluate the policy alternatives and provide recommendations on the preferred policy approach to achieve the various economic, social or political goals. In addition, policy analysis offers a way of evaluating the existing policies with the primary of objective of providing recommendations on improvement (Dunn, 2003). Therefore, policy analysis is an indispensable tool during the development and implementation stages of public policy.

During the development phase of public policy, policy analysis plays an instrumental role in the decision-making process in order to craft the most effective policy that can achieve the established goal (Dye, 2007). Policy analysis facilitates this by using a systematic approach to evaluate the various policy options with regard the goals and objectives at hand. The outcome of the policy analysis process provides a basis for recommending the most appropriate policy to be implemented in order to achieve the established goals. Policy analysis can deploy a number of methods such as quantitative and qualitative research, and using various models such as the process, institutional and rational models with the main objective of coming up with the best policy agenda per favor (Fischer, Miller, & Sidney, 2006). In the light of this view, Radin (2000) asserts that policy analysis is an effective tool that guarantees the effectiveness and efficiency of the public policies crafted.

Policy analysis also plays an instrumental role during the policy implementation process by identifying opportunities for improvement. According to Fischer, Miller, & Sidney (2006), public policy analysis deploys quantitative and qualitative research methods with the aim of analyzing and comparing existing policies and provides recommendations for potential modifications. Dunn (2003) perceives policy analysis as a performance measurement tool for public policies and provides a basis for policy modification by identifying the policy’s weakness, strengths and areas that need improvement. According to Guess & Farnham (2011), policy analysis during the implementation phase of public policy serves as a tool for corrective action identifying aspects of the policy that require revision.

Social Impact of Policies

Public policies comprise of programs, decisions and actions implemented by governmental agencies in order to address issues affecting the public (Guess & Farnham, 2011). All government levels enact policies that tackle a myriad of social issues ranging from national security and crime to healthcare and education. Public policies have several impacts on various domains such as politics, the economy and social spheres. According to Fischer, Miller, & Sidney (2006), public policies strive to regulate the welfare and the economy system through enhancing social equality and economic performance respectively. Since public policies have the main objective of dealing with social, political and economic issues facing the citizenry, the impact of public policies in their respective domains depends on their effectiveness and efficiency.

According to Fischer, Miller, & Sidney (2006), one of the notable social impacts of public policies implemented at all government levels is public protection through increased consumer and public safety. It is evident that the enactment of public policies leads to enhanced workplace safety, cleaner environment, public safety through police protection, safe consumer goods and food, and improved national security among others. The underlying argument is that the interests of the public are central to the development and implementation of public policies; therefore, all public policies, if implemented appropriately, can increase the quality of life and enhance public safety.

Another perspective to assess the social impact of public policy is to evaluate the role that public policies play in economic development. According to Dye (2007), several public policies have an indirect or direct impact on the economy of a nation. For instance, public policies aimed at improving education result in positive economic impacts through creating a skilled workforce and reduce unemployment. Similarly, policies associated with infrastructure improvement can also spur economic growth by improving transport and communication. It is extremely difficult to pinpoint a single social impact of public policies because they are multifaceted; however, Dunn (2003) argues that, if public policies are implemented appropriately with the public’s interest at heart, they result in greater good for the society irrespective of its domain.

Limitations of Policies on Government Power

According to Fischer, Miller, & Sidney (2006), the increasing complexity for public policy planning and development has played an instrumental role in limiting government authority. At present, public and community participation is central to any public policy development process; this implies that the authoritative role of the government in public policy planning and development is being taken over by public and community participation. For instance, Dye (2007) argues that public policy cannot underestimate the power of public opinion during the policy planning, development and implementation process. In addition, the very definition of public policy imposes limitations on government power. In this regard, Radin (2000) argues that the public’s interest is central to any public policy and that the government’s role is just to oversee its implementation. In addition, the emergence of other stakeholders, such as interest groups, is likely to reduce the government’s authority with respect to the policy process. These stakeholders, as well as public opinions, are gradually shaping the policy planning and development process, leaving the government with only task of implementing the policies crafted by these stakeholders in the policy community (Fischer, Miller, & Sidney, 2006).

 

Importance of Policy Evaluation

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Evaluation plays a crucial role in a policy process. A planned and organized approach to reviewing, analyzing and investigating both the validity and intended or unintended effects of a particular policy or program helps you understand if your company stays on track through administrative tasks. Each phase of the policy evaluation process offers benefits you can use to improve your company.

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Identify the Root Cause

Policy evaluation begins with identifying what initiated the need for the policy. For example, internal policies are often reactive instead of proactive, and when you determine what instigated the policy, you can decide if the problem that prompted the policy still exists. If it no longer applies, it may provide opportunity to rethink the existence of the policy. Evaluation also affords information as to whether the problem has lessened, increased or somehow evolved in a way that requires you to change or alter the policy to bring about a more appropriate fit to the problem at hand.

Establish Criteria and Scope

Deciding what to evaluate and how to assess the policy dictates the information you receive about the policy. For instance, you can get a small snapshot of the policy or take a more diversified and inclusive approach, lending to an overarching view of the workings. Either of these types of perspectives provides important data that is useful in scrutinizing the policy and changing it if needed to better suit your company’s needs.

Review Overall Workings

Aside from looking at the policy itself, you need to analyze both what the policy affects and what affects the policy. Picture the proverbial ripples in water: Examine what made the ripples as well as what the ripples do. This means reviewing stakeholders, meaning key personnel affected by or instrumental in the policy. It also includes evaluating how the policy affects external individuals, such as clientele, other agencies or departments. Identifying whether the policy is producing and sustaining the desired results facilitates beneficial information regarding subsequent policy adjustments.

Report Results

After every type of evaluation, there is a need to report the results to pertinent staff and other policy overseers. This phase is just as important as the other steps, and offers its own benefits. Often it involves generating timelines, storyboards or flowcharts depicting the process and any glitches within. Reporting and then, assimilating the report and any changes or alterations is critical in keeping everyone involved with the policy on the same page.

 

What Is the Importance & Purpose of a Business Plan?

by Kathy Burns-Millyard

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Business plans are documents used for planning out specific details about your business. They can range in size from a simple few sentences to more than 100 pages with formal sections, a table of contents and a title page. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, typical business plans average 15 to 20 pages. Comprehensive business plans have three sections–business concept, marketplace and financial–and these are broken down into seven components that include the overview or summary of the plan, a description of the business, market strategies, competition analysis, design and development, operations and management, and financial information. Even small one-page business plans have importance and purpose for the success of the business however.

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Clarify Direction

The primary purpose of a business plan is to define what the business is or what it intends to be over time. Clarifying the purpose and direction of your business allows you to understand what needs to be done for forward movement. Clarifying can consist of a simple description of your business and its products or services, or it can specify the exact product lines and services you’ll offer, as well as a detailed description of your ideal customer.

Future Vision

Businesses evolve and adapt over time, and factoring future growth and direction into the business plan can be an effective way to plan for changes in the market, growing or slowing trends, and new innovations or directions to take as the company grows. Although clarifying direction in the business plan lets you know where you’re starting, future vision allows you to have goals to reach for.

Attract Financing

The Small Business Administration states, “The development of a comprehensive business plan shows whether or not a business has the potential to make a profit.” By putting statistics, facts, figures and detailed plans in writing, a new business has a better chance of attracting investors to provide the capital needed for getting started.

Attract Team Members

Business plans can be designed as a sale tool to attract partners, secure supplier accounts and attract executive level employees into the new venture. Business plans can be shared with the executive candidates or desired partners to help convince them of the potential for the business, and persuade them to join the team.

Manage Company

A business plan conveys the organizational structure of your business, including titles of directors or officers and their individual duties. It also acts as a management tool that can be referred to regularly to ensure the business is on course with meeting goals, sales targets or operational milestones.

 

Advantages & Disadvantages of Performance Evaluation

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Performance evaluations are important tools used by management to review and discuss employees‘ performances. Several types of performance evaluations exist, including 360-degree feedback, management by objectives and ratings scale evaluations. Regardless of the type of performance evaluation system used, managers perform evaluations to benefit employees and the employer. However, implementing performance evaluations offer advantages and disadvantages. Companies who recognize the disadvantages can make the necessary adjustments to receive the full benefits of implementing performance evaluations.

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Career Development

Performance evaluations allow managers to help employees with career development. Performing an unbiased evaluation can point out where employees are excelling and the areas needing improvement. After the evaluation is completed, managers can develop plans with specific tasks to help employees develop in their career and meet goals that benefit the company. Evaluations can help employees increase their commitment to the firm and productivity. Employees that add value to the firm are considered first when better positions open up and employers decide to promote from within.

Work Achievement Recognition

Performance evaluations give managers a chance to recognize employees who performed well during the evaluated year. Recognizing employees for their achievements builds their morale, and employees with high morale are more productive. If monetary bonuses and raises are given based on performance evaluations, employees possess tangible evidence that shows the company values their hard work. Employees can list achievements received by an employer as awards on their resume if ever looking for another job.

Evaluator Bias

A disadvantage of performance evaluations is that the managers evaluating employees may show bias to certain employees, which may happen intentionally or unintentionally. According to Jonathan A. Segal of Businessweek, one risk of using performance evaluations is that some managers unconsciously favor employees that possess similar characteristics as the manager. Bias causes managers to focus more on the personality and style of the employee instead of the actual achievements. This can result in good employees feeling slighted, which may cause tension in the workplace. Bias also affects the favorable employee because he may miss much-needed guidance to improve his performance.

One-Sided

Another disadvantage of performance evaluations is that the meeting can result in a one-sided conversation. Although a manager may give an employee a chance to offer feedback, some managers already make up their mind about an employee and are not opened to two-sided dialogue. If the performance review is one-sided, employees may feel as if their opinions do no matter. This may cause an employee to shut down and refuse to communicate with management in the future. Managers should listen to feedback presented by employees, and correct evaluations if employees make valid points

 

The Importance of a Feasibility Study

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Uncertainty is a constant that businesses of every size face daily. Getting customers in the door, encouraging them to spend, and ultimately generating a profit are basic objectives that can at times seem difficult to achieve. Changing, adapting and incorporating new products and ideas into your business mix are ways to remove some of the uncertainties you face, but without proper forethought and planning, those steps themselves can be highly uncertain. Enter the feasibility study: a chance to ask and get answers to questions that help you to assess potential, and to predict the likelihood of success or failure.

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Definition

The term “feasible” describes an action or event that is likely, probably or possible to happen or achieve. A feasibility study is the total of the actions you take and the questions you ask to determine whether an idea, thought or plan is likely to succeed. An effective study can guide you on whether you should move forward with your idea, refine it, or scrap it altogether and go back to the drawing board.

Specific

Feasibility studies are focused and specific. They start with a single question — asking whether the idea, event or action is a viable solution — and force you to focus solely on that question to the exclusion of everything else, drilling down to explore possible outcomes. A feasibility study is not the same as a business plan. A feasibility study is an investigative tool that might cause you to discount an idea, whereas a business plan is call to action. You can, in fact, use a feasibility study as a predecessor to creating a business plan.

The Big Picture

Feasibility studies are important because they force you consider the big picture first and then think in a top-down fashion. In this way, one or two general starter questions lead to a host of additional, more detailed questions that become increasingly narrower in focus as you get closer to reaching an ultimate answer. For example, asking whether anyone will buy your new-and-improved product and whether it will generate a profit creates additional questions that force you to consider customer need and possible competition, and to identify risks that you may face. You must also describe your product and its benefits, define your target market, and calculate cost along with break-even and profit points.

Alternative Solutions

Feasibility studies offer you the chance to “get it right” before committing time, money and business resources to an idea that may not work in the way you originally planned, causing you to invest even more to correct flaws, remove limitations, and then simply try again. Feasibility studies may also open your eyes to new possibilities, opportunities and solutions you might never have otherwise considered. There are no right or wrong answers to the questions you ask, but an answer you don’t necessarily want or expect can create new profit potential.

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