Policy Alienation and the Power of Professionals

Policy Alienation and the Power of Professionals

Confronting New Policies

Lars Tummers

This eloquent book by Lars Tummers develops a framework to understand these important issues with policy implementation, using the innovative concept of ‘policy alienation’. Policies in healthcare, social security, and education are analyzed. The conclusions challenge the common assertions regarding the reasons why professionals resist policies. For instance, the impact of professional influence, often viewed as an end in itself, is nuanced. Lars Tummers reveals that it is far more important for professionals that a policy is meaningful for society and for their clients, than they have an influence in its shaping.

Chapter 4: A measurement instrument for policy alienation

Lars Tummers

Subjects: business and management, public management, politics and public policy, leadership, public administration and management, public policy


The previous chapter conceptualized the five policy alienation dimensions. Building on these conceptualizations, the goal of this chapter is to develop a reliable and valid policy alienation measurement instrument, using scale development techniques. Hence, it aims to measure policy alienation using a survey that is filled in by public professionals implementing a policy. In this survey, questions are asked to tap the degree of policy alienation felt. For instance, when measuring the degree of operational powerlessness experienced, professionals are asked to answer to items such as ‘When I work with this policy, I have to adhere to tight procedures’ (answer categories strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree) and ‘I have freedom to decide how to use the policy’ (answer categories strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree). In this way, we can measure the degree of policy alienation for both the individual and the total group of professionals.

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