Understanding Implementation: Street-Level Bureaucrats' Resources for Reform

Hill, Heather C.
July 2003
Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory;Jul2003, Vol. 13 Issue 3, p265
Academic Journal
This article argues that policy as written often fails to teach implementers what they need to know to do policy. Instead, it identifies a network of nonstate policy professionals-professional associations, academics, trainers, and consultants�who disseminate policy and its entailments to implementers, acting as nonstate resources for getting policy done. These "implementation resources" may interpret and publicize legislation, formulate and recommend the organizational or individual practices needed for implementation, or train implementers in the skills needed to do their jobs differently. By offering reasons for putting policy in place, they may also convince implementers, whose work environments are typically crowded with competing demands for action, to get policy done. This implementer learning perspective augments traditional theories of implementation by focusing on the effects of actor understanding-or misunderstanding-on policy outcomes. This article outlines the implementation literature, describing how such resources fill both theoretical and descriptive gaps in scholars' views of policy reforms. It provides evidence regarding the efficacy of implementation resources in one policy arena: community policing. Finally, it summarizes the importance of this project to implementation theory.


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