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A literature review on the effectiveness of policy networks in alleviating implementation failure : the need for public-civic social capital.

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A literature review has carried out in this thesis in order to find arguments in support of the notion that the public sector cannot effectively act alone in the execution of public policy. This is essentially a reaction to the idea expressed by Pressman and Wildavsky (1973) that implementation of policy can only be managed effectively and efficiently when carried out by a central organization. They claim that decentralisation to non-governmental actors could increase the number and diversity of actors and thus delay processes by complicating them. The thesis proposed in this project is that policy implementation as well as its management involves a wide array of interdependent actors who come to join policy networks to promote their interests. The literature reviewed shows that implementation can only be effectively carried out through the management of processes based on network approaches. Public-civic social capital is seen in the project to carry the potential for increasing the sustainability of policy management forms. This can be achieved it is argued by deliberately creating environments that will seek to enable the formation and use of social capital. It is argued further that the creation of public-civic social capital for purposes of development can serve to combine both formal and informal means of accountability and thereby produce systems that are flexible enough to deal with complex issues, numerous and diverse actors and to deal with the ever changing needs of society. Public-civic cooperation is seen as promising to circumvent the problems of collective action by building an environment of trust, reciprocity, mutual respect and an adherence to democratic principles in the management of public policy.


Thesis (M.Soc.Stud.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2003.


Theses--Policy and development studies., Political planning--South Africa.