MGT270. Principles of Public Sector Management
2015 University of Management and Technology
MGT 270. Principles of Public Sector Management
Thomas Dye offers a simple definition of public policy: “Whatever governments choose to do or not to do.” Thus public policy reflects actions governments undertake in order to achieve their goals.
This definition of public policy offers no judgment on whether the policy is fashioned carefully or whimsically. It simply states that governments take action to achieve results and this constitutes their public policy.
Clearly, effective governments desire to carry out policies in a deliberative, non-haphazard fashion. Before they take action, they need to understand the underlying facts. They need to grasp fully environmental forces that will color the actions they take, as well as environmental players that will be affected by the actions. Finally, they need to enumerate alternative courses of action available to them and to single out those that would best serve their interests.
Public policy decisions can be contentious, because they may create winners and losers, or they may go against the cherished values of a portion of the population. One of the most controversial public policy decisions of the 2010s was Obama’s November 2014 decision to hold back deporting millions of illegal immigrants in the USA. The announcement of this policy caused praise in some quarters, and bitter outrage in others.
- At its heart, what were the basic public policy issues Obama faced in regard to the matter of deporting illegal aliens?
- What specifically is the content of his decision?
- What rationale did Obama use to justify his decision?
- What were the principal points made by opponents of this decision?
- Obama made his decision at a time when the Republicans would gain majorities in both the House and Senate. How could the timing of his decision be viewed as politically rooted?
- Identify three ways this issue might be resolved in the long run.