January 10th, 2018
Policy Thinking Model and Policy Decisions
Policy thinking model offers a way to evaluate alternative courses of action to enhance public decisions. The model comprising of three main phases (assessing problems, searching for solutions and making recommendations) offers a systematic tool that public managers can use to better their decisions. I believe that the policy-thinking model can be useful in enhancing public decisions in the long-term, but may be problematic for use in making short-term decisions.
Policy thinking model offers a way to enhance decisions in that it provides for assessment of various alternative courses of action that may be taken when making a particular decision. In such a way, the model allows public managers to interrogate their decisions thus avoid making hurried decisions that may be inappropriate for the problems they seek to address. Such a process allows the decision-maker to synthesize the relevant information about the problem to be solved, which can help to bring about value-adding decisions. The synthesis that arises from the information may also help the public manager to formulate relevant questions that can help them to make better decisions to solve the problems they face.,
Additionally, the policy-thinking model recommendation for goal setting provides a positive approach that can help public managers to make better decisions. Clarity of goals for instance ensures that the consultative approach remains focused on meeting the goals set out. Such clear goals are critical in helping to get relevant information from other stakeholders in the decision-making process.
Irrespective of the advantages noted, the use of the model when public managers need to make decisions within a short time may not be appropriate. This is because the method specifies a systematic approach that provides for completion of various activities before the subsequent activities are initiated. Since the model envisages a consultative approach to decision making, pursuing a stepwise decision making process may be time consuming thus leading to belated solutions. Secondly, the model does not provide for continuous feedback on the decision making process thus may lead to development of solutions that have subsequently been surpassed by events. For example, the model envisages that setting goals as primarily first phase event. However, in a dynamic and uncertain environment, public managers may need to redefine the goals as they progress to ensure that the decision arrived at reflects the changes that have arisen after the initial phase. As such, the model fails to recognize the aspect of uncertainty in that even the information available may not be a good predictor of future events.
 For instance, Parag Khanna in “Synthesis: The Most Important Skill of the Future” (http://bigthink.com/in-their-own-words/synthesis-the-most-important-skill-of-the-future) argues that with the wide availability of and access to information, synthesizing such information to produce knew knowledge, as opposed memorizing the information, is what leads to success in contemporary dynamic environments.
 In his article “Delivering Exceptional Value Using Your Knowledge and Wisdom”, Daniel Burrus discusses how approaching challenges through a consultative approach helps one to ask questions that uncover the real issues thus helping to provide value-added solutions.
 See Asila Safi and Darrell Norman Burrell “Why Government Managers Need to Develop Critical Thinking Skills” Career Convergence Magazine August 2007. < http://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sd/news_article/5332/_PARENT/layout_details_cc/false>
 An importance of goal setting and clarity of goals in enhancing public sector outcomes is discussed in Chan Su Jung. “Why are Goals Important in the Public Sector? Exploring the Benefits of Goal Clarity for Reducing Turnover Intention” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 24, no. 1 (2014): 209-234. doi: 10.1093/jopart/mus058
 See discussion by Cynthia A. Montgomery, “Purring Leadership Back into Strategy.” Harvard Business Review January (2008) on how effective leadership entails continuous evaluation of strategic plans during implementation to enable integration of needed changes as the environment changes.