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Competing Interests in Public Policy

Contemporary public policy often is the result of a complex series of interactions among a large group of actors. Legislative bodies and government agencies are important players in policy formulation and implementation; however, they are not the only entities involved. There is a multitude of interested parties that may be involved in a public policy issue. For example, education policy issues might involve National Departments of Education, local departments of education, local school boards, teachers, and parents. In addition, there may be other competing interests such as church groups, atheist groups, or publishing groups, which believe that certain subjects should or should not be taught in schools. The interaction among interested parties—referred to as and considered to be competing interests—may be harmonious or conflicting, but their collective involvement in the policy network may have a major effect on outcomes of public policy.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review the article “Using Collaboration as a Governance Strategy: Lessons from Six Watershed Management Programs” in this week’s Learning Resources. Think about how competing interests might collaborate in order to influence the formulation of public policy.
  • Select an issue related to your specialization or one with which you are familiar. Identify competing interests related to your chosen issue.
  • Think about the role that competing interests might play in advocating and formulating public policy related to the issue you selected.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 4 a brief description of the issue you selected and the competing interests involved. Then, explain the role that the competing interests play in advocating and formulating public policy related to your particular issue.

If you live outside the United States, analyze a policy issue in your country along with the competing interests that help shape it.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

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