Student: Ninia Machavariani
Instructor: Dr. Stephen L. Harris
Variously called the linear, but also known as rational model, this model is the most widely-held in the processes where policy is made. It outlines policy-making as a problem solving process which is rational, balanced, objective and analytical. In the model, decisions are made in a series of sequential phases, starting with the identification of a problem or issue, and ending with a set of activities to solve or deal with it.
This model assumes that policy makers approach the issues rationally, going through each logical stage of the process, and carefully considering all relevant information. If policies do not achieve what they are intended to achieve, blame is often not laid on the policy itself, but rather on political or managerial failure in implementing it Failure can be blamed on a lack of political will, poor management or shortage of resources.
There is much evidence to suggest that this model is far from reality and besides the advantages of this model, still it brings some critics. The linear model assumes that the policy process consists of various subsequent stages: agenda-setting, policy formulation, implementation, evaluation, etc. This model has been dominant throughout the 1970s and the 1980s. The model often goes together with an idea that the policy decision is the key moment in the policy process. Once the decision is made, there is simply execution or implementation. This implementation can be successful or not, but in case of failure, the blame is put on lack of political will, in any case external factors that have nothing to do with the policy proper, i.e. the decision.
Separation between policy proper and implementation enables policy-makers to escape responsibility. So, policy is what it does and the emphasis should be pu on the way in which decisions are used in actual practice.