The challenges and benefits of policy networks : a case study of labour policy implementation at the Centre for Criminal Justice.
This study investigates the challenges and benefits of policy networks. It focuses specifically on the experiences of the Centre for Crimlnal Justice, examining the challenges and benefits it experiences in its networks. In spite of the widely applauded benefits of networks in this study and in other publications, findings from this study still highlight the challenges of networks in labour policy implementation. The study reveals that the element of diversity and the complicated nature of networks' management threaten networks' ability to realize their objectives. The lack of binding regulations and managerial structures in certain networks reveals the drawback in networks' management. Firstly, it raises questions about the legitimacy of any self-initiated coordination in networks since such might not be formally accepted by network members. Secondly, the thesis argues that the lack of binding regulations in some networks deepen the likelihood of uncooperative attitude among actors, especially when it suits them, given that there are no defined consequences for their actions. Other findings in this study draw attention to the operational conflict between the vertical and lateral-minded members of a network. This discusses the question of methodological disagreement between actors of contrasting view points in the execution of certain tasks. Finally, the thesis looks at the question of actors' autonomy in a network. It argues that threats to actors' autonomy or dignity could promote lack of commitment from network members, neglect of responsibility and the possible breakdown of the network if such issues are not properly addressed. In summary, though networks are ideal tools for policy implementation and service delivery in contemporary society, they nevertheless have their challenges. Hence the study concludes with an invitation for proper acknowledgement of the challenges in the process of networks and the need for further studies in this field to enhance the effectiveness of networks in implementation processes.
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