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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Policy, Project, Program

There are three approaches of planned change:
  • Policy
  • Program
  • Project
Which of the three approaches makes it “easier” to develop and implement change than the others? Why?
Which approach of the three listed approaches is “most effective” in understanding, implementing, and monitoring change? Why? Explain your answer with reasoning and supporting examples.

A policy is the model best suited of the three models to make it “easier” to develop and implement change; the model of policy is also the most effective to monitor and understand change.

This can be illustrated by a simple analogy; a man is tasked with getting rocks to the top of a hill. He has three options for getting the rocks up there. The first, as a project, he can look for the easiest route to climb the hill every day with a big heavy rock. The second, as a program, allows him to uses a tried and true route after he has identified it to make that climb with a big heavy rock an easier daily task. In the third, the policy, the man plans the best way to get all sorts of rocks up that hill; he builds a pulley to move baskets of rocks up the hill and a stairway with convenient rest areas to carry the big rocks up the hill without straining his back. The model of policy allows for the man to make the best decision for getting the rock up that hill depending on the kind of rock he has to move at any given time. By using a policy, the man can determine if a program or project should be initiated as the best approach to that particular rock.

Welsh describes the models of policy, program, and project:
Policy- A rule or set of rules or guidelines for how to make a decision.

Program- A set of services aimed at achieving specific goals and objectives within specified individuals, groups, organizations, or communities.

Project- A time-limited set of services provided to particular individuals, groups, organizations, or communities, usually focused on a single need, problem, or issue
(2012, pp. 4-5)

The program portion of the analogy is a little weak, but the rest works under Welsh's description. The next step in understanding the analogy is a discussion of change in organizations. There are two types of change; planned change and unplanned change, also known as crescive change. Crescive change can happen whether the directors of an organization want it or not. In both types of change, there is resistance to change. Planned change allows the changing agency to mitigate that resistance and to utilize resources more effectively.

The policy model allows for greater leverage against possible resistance, as policy is often established by law. In addition, policy can create environments in which the means for creating programs or projects are already provided for; budgeting has been established and oversight has been defined. The largest drawback to the policy model is that it is based on the goals of politicians; “The rational politician knows that, if their policy votes deviate too far from the opinion of their constituents, they risk their electoral futures”(Nicholson-Crotty, Peterson, & Ramirez, 2009, p. 630) Nicholson-Crotty et al continue, “The electoral connection should be particularly strong to deviations in criminal justice policy from public opinion”. (2009, p.635) It should be noted that political opposition can be experienced in all three models.

All three models provide benefits in the planned change process. We have looked at the benefits of the policy model. Welsh gives us an example of a success in the program model; ““Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) has been recognized as a 'model' violence prevention program, partly because of its well-specified design and replicability across numerous jurisdictions.” (2012, p. 17) Projects, due to their relatively smaller operational costs and the ability to use projects as a test bed:
A pilot-project approach has many advantages: Small
test programs can usually be mounted inexpensively; few
staff people are required, since specialists can be brought
in ad hoc; time is saved because red tape is bypassed; rela-
tively quick results can be expected. Since no new agency,
bureau, or division is created, a project can be easily dis-
mantled if it proves ineffective, without disastrous results
politically or financially, and even in failure it may provide
useful information. The pilot project technique itself pro-
vides great flexibility, allowing the planner to change his
approach on short notice. (Sturz, 2011, p.6)

The major point to take into consideration across all three models is the critical necessity of planning. This course discusses two models of planning; the seven-stage approach as discussed in the class notes or in more detail by Welsh, or the SARA model which “is widely used by criminal justice professionals who want to resolve local organizational problems” (South University Online, 2014, para. 2)

Nicholson-Crotty, S., Peterson, D. A. M., & Ramirez, M. D. (2009). Dynamic representation(s): Federal criminal justice policy and an alternative dimension of public mood. Political Behavior, 31(4), 629–655. doi:10.1007/s11109-009-9085-1

South University Online. (2014). MCJ6004 S01: Criminal Justice Planning & Innovation. The SARA Model. Retrieved November 4, 2014 from myeclassonline.com

Sturz, H. (2011). Experiments in the Criminal Justice System. Federal Sentencing Reporter, 24(1), 4–7. doi:http://dx.doi.org.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/10.1525/fsr.2011.24.1.4

Welsh, W. (2012). Criminal Justice Policy and Planning [VitalSouce bookshelf version]. Retrieved November 3, 2014 from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781437735000

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