An Analysis of the Concept of Public Policy: Nature, Traits, Ending

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Public Administration, Farabi Campus, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Prof., Department of Public Administration, Farabi Campus, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

3 Assistant Prof., Department of Faculty of Public Administration, Islamic Studies and Management, Imam Sadiq University, Tehran, Iran


Objective:Understanding the nature of "public policy" is not as straightforward as discerning its instances. The term "public policy" is utilized in an imprecise manner not only by public policy adopters but also by academic society. However, it is obvious that comprehending the essence of this concept is an inevitable prerequisite to various policy sciences, such as policy process, policy analysis, and policy evaluation. The present paper reports an analytical-interpretive research that aims to recognize and explain the essence of "public policy".
Methods: In this research, the most significant definitions of "public policy" in the literature were to be analyzed applying thematic analysis.
Results: The conclusion puts those concepts existing in the definitions in the three branches: nature, traits, and ending of “public policy”; furthermore, based on this three-dimensional classification, two definitions of “public policy” according two perspectives, “policy audience” and “policy analyst”, are proposed, being comprehensive in representing commons and in distinguishing fundamental differences of definitions.
Conclusion: The public policy from the perspective of policy audience could be defined as: “a relatively stable course of action that can be abstracted from a set of interrelated decisions, laws, positions, and actions of one or set of actors ascribing to administration, in dealing with a problem or a matter of concern”; while public policy from the perspective of policy analyst could be defined as: “a set of interrelated decisions, laws, positions, and actions adopted by a policy actor, in dealing with a problem or matter of concern to allocate values desirably in society”.


Main Subjects

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