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 8: Discussion and conclusions

Confronting New Policies

Lars Tummers


The goal of this book is to enhance the understanding of the experiences of public professionals with new policies they have to implement. This is an important topic, as many examples show that professionals in various settings have problems with the policies they have to implement. This ranges from demonstrations by Israeli teachers with reforms to extend school days (Berkovich, 2011), via British local civil servants leaving their jobs because of problems with New Public Management reforms focused on efficiency and stringent spending limits (Conley, 2002), to US health care professionals having difficulty with the constant flow of policy changes in primary care, resulting in tensions, conflict and burnouts (Nutting et al., 2011). First, in the next section (Section 8.2), I aim to summarize the results of the previous chapters. The second goal is to examine the ‘bigger picture’: what conclusions can be drawn from this book and what does it contribute to the literature and to practice? This is discussed in Section 8.3, where six main conclusions are shown. Third, in this chapter I aim to provide a research agenda for studies on policy alienation in the coming years (Section 8.4). The chapter concludes with some final thoughts on policy alienation (Section 8.5).

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