Assessment of the Causes for Policy-Implementation Narratives in Ethiopia: The Case of Selected Public Institutions

Dereje Terefe


Policy implementation is one of the decisive policy processes where bureaucratic actors, individuals and institutions transform government commitments into action. Policy implementation cannot achieve its intended goals with a single ministry, agency or department; it has to bring all potential stakeholders together with varied interests. This adds to the frequent complexity of implementation unless public managers have the necessary skills or the art of “getting things done”. Challenges in policy implementation have their own causes rooted in lack of knowledge and capacity by policymakers, implementing institutions, ambitious goals, human and material requisites, commitments and personal interests, and lack of policy continuity. The objective of this study was to examine the underlying causes of policy dichotomy narratives in Ethiopian public institutions with a focus to implementation and come up with suggestions for policymakers. The study employed a descriptive –explanatory design in order that what is described may not remain mere factual exhibitions but to be sufficiently explained with their causal-effect relationships. Study data sources (targets) include a purposively selected public institutions (both federal and regional states), members of the parliament and regional states councils, bureau heads, and senior experts. A mixed research approach was also opted to complement each of the data obtained through both quantitative and qualitative instruments. The findings show that the policy dichotomy narrative with due focus to implementation is deeply entrenched among higher government officials and middle level policy actors in a bid to escape accountability as well as maintain policy transcendence which is dictated by party loyalties. In response, it is recommended that the on-going policy dichotomy approach and attitudes need to give way to a shared accountability and timely review of policies before popular grievances pile up and result in irreversible consequences.

Keywords:  policy dichotomy, implementation, top-down/ bottom-up, cognitive constraints, and public institutions.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5731 ISSN (Online)2225-0972

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