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Charles E. Lindblom The Science of “Muddling Through” published 1959 Alice Christian PA 302 February 13, 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Charles E. Lindblom The Science of “Muddling Through” published 1959 Alice Christian PA 302 February 13, 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Charles E. Lindblom The Science of “Muddling Through” published 1959 Alice Christian PA 302 February 13, 2006

2 Rational Comprehensive (Root)Successive Limited Comparisons (Branch) Clarification of values or objectives distinct from and usually prerequisite to empirical analysis of alternative policies. Selection of value goals and empirical analysis of the needed action are not distinct from one another but are closely intertwined. Policy-formulation is therefore approached through means-end analysis: First the ends are isolated, then the means to achieve them are sought. Since means and ends are not distinct, means-ends analysis is often inappropriate or limited. The test of a “good” policy is that it can be shown to be the most appropriate means to a desired end. The test of a “good” policy is typically that various analysts find themselves directly agreeing on a policy (without their agreeing that it is the most appropriate means to an agreed objective). Analysis is comprehensive; every important relevant factor is taken into account. Analysis is drastically limited: I)Important possible outcomes are neglected. II)Important alternatives potential policies are neglected. III)Important affected values are neglected. Theory is often heavily relied upon.A succession of comparison greatly reduces or eliminates reliance on theory.

3 By Root or By Branch Intertwining Evaluation and Empirical Analysis (1a) Intertwining Evaluation and Empirical Analysis (1a) How to rank values? How to rank values? “A problem of adjustments at the margin” p. 180 “A problem of adjustments at the margin” p. 180

4 Relations Between Means and Ends (2b) “How can an administrator know whether he has made a wise or foolish decision if he is without prior values or objectives by which to judge his decisions?” p. 181 “How can an administrator know whether he has made a wise or foolish decision if he is without prior values or objectives by which to judge his decisions?” p. 181

5 The Test of “Good” Policy (3b) “Good” if it can be shown to attain a specific objective; it is not possible to judge in the abstract. “Good” if it can be shown to attain a specific objective; it is not possible to judge in the abstract. Judge by agreement on the policy itself Judge by agreement on the policy itself

6 Noncomprehensive Analysis (4b) Need to simplify by limiting policy comparisons to those that differ in relatively small degrees from present policies. Need to simplify by limiting policy comparisons to those that differ in relatively small degrees from present policies. Relevance as Well as Realism Relevance as Well as Realism Compare with existing policies Compare with existing policies

7 Achieving a Degree of Comprehensiveness “Every important interest or value has its watchdog.” P. 183 “Every important interest or value has its watchdog.” P. 183

8 Succession of Comparison (5b) Theorists and Practitioners Theorists and Practitioners Theory is limited in that: 1. It is “greedy for facts” 2. It is insufficiently precise.

9 re-madeendlessly.” “Policy…is made and re-made endlessly.”

10 Successive Comparison as a System “It is a method or system, it is not a failure of method for which administrators ought to apologize.” P. 185 “It is a method or system, it is not a failure of method for which administrators ought to apologize.” P. 185 Diversity within agencies improves decision-making. Diversity within agencies improves decision-making.

11 Lindblom’s World View Lindblom’s worldview is pragmatic and activist. Lindblom’s worldview is pragmatic and activist. His theory of Incrementalism grew out of his extensive studies of welfare policies and trade unions throughout the industrialized world. His theory of Incrementalism grew out of his extensive studies of welfare policies and trade unions throughout the industrialized world. Retrieved from Feb 7, 2006

12 Why is this important to Public Sector Organizations? Compared with Taylor’s “One Best Way,” Lindblom advocates for constant input into systems by those involved. Compared with Taylor’s “One Best Way,” Lindblom advocates for constant input into systems by those involved. “Watchdog” system will keep values in balance. “Watchdog” system will keep values in balance.


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