Interorganizational Policy Studies: Lessons Drawn from Implementation Research


O'Toole Jr, Laurence J. (1993) Interorganizational Policy Studies: Lessons Drawn from Implementation Research. Journal of Public Administration, 3 (2). pp. 232-251. ISSN 1053-1858

open access
Abstract:Contingency approaches to organizing suggest that policy objectives are more likely to be achieved if the structures employed for implementation mesh with the policy objectives being sought. Interorganizational arrangements are used increasingly in carrying out public programs, and contingency logic can be used to assess the degree of match between policy objective and interunit structure. Such a perspective would seem to offer an approach of practical significance. Here the contingency logic as applied to interorganizational implementation is reviewed and its assumptions identified. To probe these assumptions, empirical evidence is analyzed from one policy sector which would seem especially promising. The findings suggest that even under highly favorable conditions, a contingency perspective provides only limited help. The research demonstrates the need for additional conceptual clarification and theoretical care in reaching conclusions about the impact of interorganizational structures on policy settings.
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