Policy Alienation and the Power of Professionals
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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.
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Chapter 6: The impact of policy alienation on resistance to change

Confronting New Policies

Lars Tummers


The previous chapter analyzed the main antecedents of policy alienation. In this chapter, a different approach is taken. Using a large-scale survey, the main goal is to investigate an important effect of policy alienation: resistance to change. While doing this, I will use the measurement instrument developed in Chapter 3. When public professionals resist policies, this can have severe consequences. For instance, professionals can start demonstrations and strikes against a policy, such as the teachers from Israel who resisted educational reforms (Berkovich, 2011). Professionals can also engage in rule bending or rule breaking behavior because they do not agree with the policy (Huberts et al., 2006). As well as demonstrations and rule breaking, more personal consequences can follow. When conducting the study of the DRG policy, I found that many professionals quit their profession as they had severe problems with the policy. This can be seen as the ultimate form of resistance.

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