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 7: Moving beyond policy alienation? Examining organizational context and personality characteristics

Confronting New Policies

Lars Tummers


The previous chapter provided a first analysis of the influence of policy alienation on resistance to change. Using a case of midwives implementing a new structural ultrasound policy, it concluded that policy alienation indeed had a profound effect on resistance to change. Specifically, more operational powerlessness, societal meaninglessness and especially client meaninglessness heightened the resistance of the midwives to implementing this policy. This chapter builds on Chapter 6 and has three main aims. The first goal is to retest the measurement instrument of policy alienation. In this way, the chapter might provide further evidence (or not of course) of the sound measurement of policy alienation. Related to this, the second goal is to retest the influence of policy alienation on resistance to change in a new case. In this way, it can be investigated whether the influence of policy alienation on resistance to change is similar in the case of psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists implementing Diagnosis Related Groups. The third goal is to test whether the dimensions of policy alienation still influence resistance to change when other explaining variables are added. This is done by including elements of the organizational context and personality characteristics.

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