Why government is involved in policy development Reflection paper

Reflection Paper

  1. Briefly identify the concepts that you learned from this week’s materials.

This week I learned a number of key concepts from the textbook, lecture, video, presentations, and discussion boards. From the textbook, I learnt a lot about what constitutes public policy, why government is involved in policy development, how the government develops public policy, and the various contexts of public policy. I learnt that public policy refers to the actions (or lack of actions) by government officials towards particular problems affecting the citizens. A number of factors or contexts affect the development of public policy. These include social context, political context, economic context, cultural context, and governing context. The government may get involved in public policy development due to various reasons. Some of the key reasons identified include ethical reasons, to avert market failure, and for political reasons. The government effects public policy through a number of tools such as introducing market incentives, regulation, education, taxes, and through other means (Kraft & Furlong, 2012).

The video presentation provides an overview of what to expect in this course. From the video presentation, I learned that there exists a close connection between public policy and the law. I have learned a lot about how policymakers develop or influence laws, and thus the close connection between policymaking and development of law. The lectures, presentations and discussion boards have enhanced my understanding of public policy and the law. With regard to law, I have learned about various sources of law in the US. Some of the sources include the US Constitution, statutes, administrative law, common law, state laws, executive orders, and among others. I have also gained a better understanding of the public policy making process. Lastly, I have learned a lot about the citizens’ influence in policy decisions. The key thing is that citizens have the ability to influence policy decisions. The study of public policy attempts to increase individuals’ awareness of policy development and the role they play.

  1. What was the most important concept introduced, and why do you deem that concept to be the most important concept of that week’s materials?

The most important concept introduced is that it is possible to remove unnecessary and unclear laws or policies. Once the government introduces policies, it is possible to revise these policies if they are unfavourable or when they have unforeseen consequences. Citizens have the ability to influence not only policy making but also to influence the nature of existing policies. There are different approaches applied in evaluating proposed policies. For instance, concerned individuals can measure the effectiveness of proposed policies in order to understand how helpful they are to the society. It is also possible to evaluate the technical feasibility of the new policies. Technical feasibility relates to the operability of the proposed policies (Kraft & Furlong, 2012). Another major aspect is the political feasibility of the new policy.

This concept is the most important because it helps explain the steps that citizens can take in case an unnecessary and unclear law becomes effective. It is worth noting that during the development of policies, some individuals may be driven by selfish interests to pass laws that do not cater to the interests of the larger public. Further, this concept enables one to learn about the various ways of making improvements to policies introduced by the government. It is important to learn how to improve on public policy in order to reflect on the changing needs or perspectives in the community. The public policy improvement process involves three key stages. The first stage involves development of initiatives that increase public awareness about particular policy or law through availing statistics or micro data. In the second stage, the public understands the information given and mobilization efforts begin. This leads to the development of better policy in the final stage.

  1. In your opinion, how does this legal concept/principle affect the organizational leadership environment?

This legal concept has a critical impact to the organizational leadership environment. The ability to amend policies helps in developing positive relationships at different organizational levels. Organizations experience changes in the environment as time elapses. Changes within their environment often call for changes in organizations within such environments in order to survive the competition. Change is vital for organizations that seek at surviving in volatile and complex environments. Some changes may be simple, requiring the organization to reorganize a few aspects. On the other hand, some changes may be complex and necessitate the organization to undergo restructuring. In some situations, the organization may find that the existing laws does not allow it to implement change effectively.

  1. Was there a topic discussed that you did not understand? If so, identify the nature of your question about the aspect of the material.

The topic I did not understand concerns government transparency. There are strong debates in the public sector concerning government transparency in the making of public policy. Governments enhance their transparency by increasing the amount of information they provide to the public. However, governments do not share all information with the public. The current government maintains some information as classified, meaning not all is provided to the public. In the recent period, there has been increased concerns over the need to improve government transparency. This is due to the need for accountability in the public sector. According to Grimmelikhuijsen and Meijer (2014), revealing the effectiveness of government policies to the public through performance indicators can improve the level of trust to the government. This is according to transparency optimists.

On the other hand, transparency pessimists hold contrary opinion. According to transparency pessimists, showing the public the effectiveness of government policies does not improve public trust (Grimmelikhuijsen & Meijer, 2014). This group argues that increase government transparency will likely contribute to politics of scandal. Another possible consequence of high transparency is the de-legitimization of the government. The pessimists argue that the public policy making is a complex process. As such, the government should commit itself to communicating every aspect of the public policy process to the public. This brings me to the nature of the question about the aspect of the material. Can we trust our current government with transparency during the policy making process?


Grimmelikhuijsen, S.G., and Meijer, A.J. (2014). The effects of transparency on the perceived trustworthiness of a government organization: evidence from an online experiment. Journal of Public Administration Theory and Research, 24(1), 137-157.


Kraft, M. E., Furlong, S. R., (2012). 5th Ed. Public policy: Politics, analysis, and alternatives. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN-10: 1483345785