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MZUZU UNIVERSITY

FACULTY OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE
DEPARTMENT OF GOVERNANCE PEACE AND SECURITY STUDIES
Bachelor of Arts in Security Studies
COURSE TITLE:
PUBLIC POLICY
COURSE CODE:
SSPP: 4704
ASSIGNMENT NO: ONE
BASED ON THOROUGH RESEARCH, EXPLAIN THE MEANING OF PUBLIC POLICY
SUBMITTED BY: BSS/39/17
SUBMITTED TO: MR. G. MHANGO
Date of Submission: FRIDAY 16TH NOVEMBER, 2018
WHAT IS PUBLIC POLICY?
INTRODUCTION
Much of the literature in political sciences in this field of policy formation concerned with the understanding of how policy is made. It address questions like “who make the policy?” who is the policy for? And who benefits?(Spicker,p. 2006). Stone argued that policy formation is a process of negotiation, bargaining within ‘polis’ or political community. The negotiationand the bargaining depend on the reconciliation of the conflict of interest and people are influenced by many factors such as concealment, bluff, log rolling, bargaining(trying to get the results one wants), influence, loyalty and so forth(Stone, D. 1997). Policy is a very ambiguous term. In its simplest form Spicker defines it as ‘a decision about a course of action,’ but it is also supposed to represent a set of decisions, interrelated and consistent with others.Anderson (2003) defines policy as behavior of actor or actors, such as an official, governmental agency or a legislature in an area of activities such as public transportation or consumer protection. He also argued that a policy is a relatively stable, purposive course of action followed by an actor or set of actors in dealings with a problem or matters of concern.

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MEANING OF PUBLIC POLIY BY DIFFERENT SCHOLARS
There are several definitions of public policy. Next are some examples as defined by different schools of thoughts:
Dye, (1972) define public policy as whatever governments choose to do or not to do. Frederich, (1963) Argues that it is a proposed course of action of a person, group or government within a given environment providing obstacles and opportunities which the policy was proposed to utilize and overcome in an effort to reach a goal or realize an objective or purpose. However Daneke and Steiss ( 1978) defined it as a broad guide to present and future decisions, selected in light of given conditions from a number of alternatives; the actual decision or set of decisions designed to carry out the chosen course of actions; a projected program consisting of desired objectives (goals) and the means of achieving them. Likewise Dodd et al. (2000) define public policy as a Commitment to a course or plan of action agreed to by a group of people with the power to carry it out. Furthermore Public policy is the broad framework of ideas and values within which decisions are taken and action, or inaction, is pursued by governments in relation to some issue or problem. (Brooks, 1989) In simple term, public policy is a choice or decision made by government that guides subsequent actions in similar circumstances.

First, Public policy are those developed by governmental body and officials and have special characteristics of public policies stem from their being formulated by what political scientist Easton as cited in Anderson (2003), called the authority in a political system as elders, paramount chiefs, executives, legislators, judges, administrators, councilors, monarchs and the like. These are the persons who encourage in responsibility for those matters and take actions that are accepted as binding most of the time by most of the members so long as they act within the limits of their roles. In Malawi there are so many public policies which are also derived from authorities like the elders, paramount chiefs, executives, legislators, judges, administrators, councilors and monarchs. This is Purposive course of action followed by government in dealing with someproblem or matter of concern. For example to increase farm income, the national government utilizes income subsidies and production controls.

Similarly, Daneke and Steiss ( 1978) defined it as a broad guide to present and future decisions, selected in light of given conditions from a number of alternatives; the actual decision or set of decisions designed to carry out the chosen course of actions; a projected program consisting of desired objectives (goals) and the means of achieving them. For example prior to 2015 the government of Malawi proposed to build more technical colleges with the purpose to increase the number of students selected to public colleges and this was evidenced on 15th October,2015 when president Arthur peter Mutharika launched the community technical college concept in the southern region at naminjiwa in phalombe (Mwahara, P. 2015) .

Likewise, Hogwood and Gunn (1994) define public policy as an output. This focuses what the government delivers to the society not what it has promise or authorized through legislation. Output is difficult to decide what the final outcome of the policy will be. As such, output is different from outcome in the sense that in outcome as public policy, the government predicts whether the objective is met or not. For example, in Malawi the government issued agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers through farm inputs subsidy program to its citizens who cannot manage to buy it. The objective is to enhance national food security, but it is difficult for the government to account for what is delivered to the society through its outcome. Dye (1972) argues that public policy is an action as well as inactions that emerge in response to policy demands or those claims for action or inaction on some issues made by other actors such as private citizens, group representative or legislators and other public officials upon government officials and agencies. In response to demands, public officials make decision that give content and directions to public policy. This decision may enact statues, issue executive orders, edicts, promulgate administrative rule, or make judicial interpretations of law (Anderson, 2003).

Moreover, Anderson (2003) defines public policy as the authoritative, legally coercive quality that the policies of private organizations do not have. This can be seen as the difference between the government and the private organization such that government can incarcerate people while private organization cannot do. However, there are some public policies which may be violated even though seems to be authoritative, for example the violation of speed limits on the public road by the drivers. In the Malawian context the government established specific speed limit in some areas of the public roads in order to control accidents which occurs due to over speeding on these public roads. Rose (1976) also argues that public policy is not a decision but it is a course or pattern of activity and such activity is regarded as activities of the government. Hogwood and Gunn (1994) define public policy as a label of some field of activity. This activity implies those of the government in the area of economics, social issues and foreign policies. In the context of Malawi policy in social can look on areas like infrastructural development like road construction network for easy transportation of people and goods, for example, the construction of Mzuzu-Nkhatabay road as government activity. In foreign policy government do ratify treaties with some international organization as well as regional organization. For example, African union, United Nations and this ratification can be seen as activity of government.

CONCLUSION
From the discussion above on the meaning of public policy, various studies have been attempted from different angles by many scholars. The definitions derived based from their specific goals, objectives, intention, action and inaction, activity, among others. Public policy therefore, has both positive and negative consequences.

REFERENCES
Anderson, J.E (2003) public Policy making:An introduction. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin Company, pp. 1-34.

Brooks, Stephen, Public Policy in Canada: An Introduction, McClelland and Stewart Inc.,
Toronto, Ontario, 1989.

Dye, Thomas R., Understanding Public Policy, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey,
1972.

Dodd, Julie Devon and Michelle Hébert Boyd, Capacity Building – Linking Community
Experience to Public Policy, Population and Public Health Branch, Atlantic Regional Office,
Health Canada, Halifax, 2000
Daneke, Gregory A. and Alan Walter Steiss, .Planning and Policy Analysis for Public
Administrators,. in John W. Sutherland (ed.), Management Handbook for Public
Administrators, Van Nostrand and Reinhold Company, New York, 1978.Easton, D. (1953) The Political System, New York: Knopf.

Hogwood.B,Gunn. L (1994), policy analysis for the real world, Oxford: OUP.

Rose R. (1972) The Dynamics of Public Policy, Sage Publications Ltd: London
Frederich, Carl J., Man and his Government, McGraw Hill, New York, 1963.Stone, D. (1997) Policy paradox, New York: Norton.

Spicker, P.(2006), Policy Analysis for Practice, University of Bristol: policy press.

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MZUZU UNIVERSITY

FACULTY OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE
DEPARTMENT OF GOVERNANCE PEACE AND SECURITY STUDIES
Bachelor of Arts in Security Studies
COURSE TITLE:
PUBLIC POLICY
COURSE CODE:
SSPP: 4704
ASSIGNMENT NO: ONE
BASED ON THOROUGH RESEARCH, EXPLAIN THE MEANING OF PUBLIC POLICY
SUBMITTED BY: BSS/40/17
SUBMITTED TO: MR G.A MHANGO.

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Date of Submission: FRIDAY 16TH NOVEMBER, 2018
WHAT IS PUBLIC POLICY?
1.0 INTRODUCTION
Public policy is the most ambiguous term (Spicker, 2006). It is the field of study in this contemporary public policy studies and it is also the art of government. Whenever and wherever governments have existed, public policies also have to be formulated and implemented. In its simplest sense according to Spicker (2006) a policy is a decision about a course of action, but it is also supposed to represent a set of decisions, interrelated and consistent with others. Such being the case, in every form of government policies have to be formulated and implemented. Government creates these policies to cope up with the miscellaneous troubles and needs of the people in the country such as social security, unemployment and education. However, Malawi has a lot of policies which are a blue print on paper but when it becomes to implementation, some of these policies do not please beneficiaries and sometimes remain a theory (Spicker, 2006). Currently, there is no universally accepted definition of what constitute public policy. Therefore, it is of great interest to know the meaning of public policy.

2.0 MEANING OF PUBLIC POLIY BY DIFFERENT SCHOLARS
In the first place, the word policy according to Anderson (2015) refers to the purposive course of action which a person or group consistently observes in dealing with matters of public concern. In both public as well as private sector, policies are regarded as instruments through which societies control themselves in an attempt to direct human behaviour in acceptable directions (Anderson, 2015). Although other scholars define policy in this way, there is no agreed definition of public policy in the contemporary world. However, despite the diverse perception of public policy, other researchers have attempted to describe public policy indifferent angles. For Friedrich (1976) public policy is defined as a planned course of action of an individual, group, as well as government in a given environment providing chances and obstacles on which the policy was planned to use and overcome in an attempt to reach a goal or an objective. Similarly, Hill(2009) defines public policy as government’s plan of action to give an effect to particular normative as well as empirical goals in an effort to deal with apparent grievances of the society in a specific way and attain preferred changes in that society. Regardless of the presence of these miscellaneous perceptions, public policy is perceived to be a problem solving activity of the government in order to meet the needs of the society.

Upon the understanding of public policy above, it has been clearly shown that public policies are government choices, and that they are essentially the outcome of actions which the government undertakes in pursuance of certain goals as well as objectives as expressed by (Dunn 2009). On the other hand, public policy formulation as well as implementation encompasses a well-planned form of activity as it needs a systematic close tie relation as well as joint effort framed by the significant governmental departments such as executive, legislature, bureaucracy, as well as judiciary. For instance, policy making process may involve some main features which include definition of the problem to be addressed, objectives which the policy intends to attain, as well as the tools which are used to deal with the problem and achieve the policy objectives (Dunn, 2009).

Also Jenkins as cited in Sapru (2010) also describes public policy as a set of interrelated choices taken by the political actor or even group of actors regarding the choice of goals as well as the ways of achieving these goals in a stated situation where those choices should, in principle, be in the power of those actors. This entails that public policies are purpose oriented because they are framed and implemented for the purpose of achieving specific goals which the government wants for the barely benefit of the general public. These policies clearly explain programmes of government. In general, public policy aims at attaining a specific objective which is taken to be most important for all members of society. For instance, government may formulate and implement policies of access to safe water, good health, as well as educational attainment, to its citizens.

Correspondingly, Gerston (2010) defines public policy as a principled guideline to an act pursued by the administrative as well as executive branches of the government with consideration of the class of issues, in a way consistent with the law as well as organizational customs. This entails that public policy is what the state really plans or wants to do. It is the connection of the government components to the specific area of political arena in a specific administrative system such that this can take a variety of shapes such as law, court decisions as well as executive orders (Gerston, 2010). Thus, public policy is said to be comprehensive direction or perspective which the state places with the aim of making decisions (Dye, 2012). Every institution as well as an individual is ordered to make a choice in a policy framework which may be a short time action or not. Policy is made up of several decisions which are pursued to fulfill specific objectives. Dye (2012) further stipulates that public policy is made up of a sequence of choices tied together into a consistent whole. However, there can be differences in the procedures involved in decision as well as policy making but both are focusing on choice in the middle of alternatives and for both similar processes can be taken in making these alternatives.

On the other hand, Dye (1972) defines public policy as everything that state chooses to do or not to do. In view of this point, Anderson (2003) introduced a model of the policy process which has been very fruitful as a primary outline in the arena of public policy studies as well as becoming an introductory point for variety of typologies of the public policy process. Public policy making is deemed not only a practical action of the state but fairly a diverse communicating process credited by the different nature of socio-political as well as other environmental forces.
Brooks as cited in Anderson (2003) also defines public policy as the comprehensive framework of thoughts as well as values in which choices are taken and action is followed by states in connection to other issues or problems. In support of this, Cochran and Malone (2014) argue that Public policy may be explained as the total framework in which state actions are pursued to achieve public goals. This shows that policies are reasoned courses of action formulated in reaction to an apparent problem and they are clarified through a specific policy process which include adoption, implementation, regulatory measures, courses of state action, funding priorities, as well as enforcement by a public organization (Cochran and Malone, 2014).These policies provides direction to regimes over a variety of actions as well as giving shared liability links between the state and the citizens. They are mostly shaped by individuals and groups through combination of interest groups, advocacy education, as well as political lobbying.

3. O CONCLUSION
To sum up the discussion on the meaning of public policy, it is clear that public policies are governmental decisions, which are actually the result of activities taken by the government in order to achieve particular objectives and goals. It can also be said that formulation as well as implementation of public policies involves a well planned model of activity in order to achieve the intended goals.
4.0 REFERENCES
Anderson, J. E. (2003), Public policymaking: An introduction. Boston: Houghton.

Cochran, C. L ; Malone E. F (2014), Public Policy, perspectives and choice, 5th Ed. Lynne Rienner: USA.

Dunn W.N (2009), Public Policy Analysis: An Introduction, Harlow: Pearson Longman.

Dye T.R. (2012), Understanding Public Policy, Harlow: Pearson Longman.

Dye, T. R., (1972), Understanding Public Policy, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs: New Jersey.

Friedrich. C.J. (1976), Policy Making, Structures and Processes, Niilm University.

Gerston. L.N. (2010), Public Policy Making: Process and Principles, New York: M.E Sharpe.

Hill, M. (2009), Public Policy Process, Harlow: Longman.

Sapru, R.K. (2010). Public Policy: Formulation, Implementation and Evaluation, (2nd edition). New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Private Limited
Rose R. (1976), Dynamics of Public Policy, Sage Publications Ltd: London.

Spicker. P. (2006), Policy analysis for practice, Hobbs, Britain
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