PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSIS AND DECISION MAKING
Decision making is designed in such a way and manner that students of public administration especially at post graduate level will appreciate theoretical postulations as expanded by scholars in order to find out the most rational ways of administering man-kind Rationality implies efficient and possible ways to implement policies made by the Central Controlling Agency [CCA] i.e. government, saddled with the task of making good-life to its citizenry through Distributive Justice. Scholars differ in several respects in their postulations on how best to make rational decisions that can be possible, applicable and results-orientated. One fundamental issue makes a convergence of ideas amongst scholars is that politics is essentially about decision-making over most especially Authoritative allocation of values i.e. in as much as politics is about making calculated decisions by resort to rational thinking by decision makers using authority in terms of exercise of POWER AND LEGITIMACY, the rudiment of man-management appears in attempt to make the capacity of government to:-
• Extract or harness human and material resources
• Distribute these resources [ie human and natural resources] in a n equitable manner
• Regulate the affairs of citizens through reward and punitive measures
• Symbolic and responsive ability of government to ensure security and stability at domestic level and at the same time to ward off external threats and or aggression. These four yard sticks are- extractive, distributive, regulative and symbolic/responsive capabilities of government are the major concerns of scholars in particular in trying to theorise how best these can be used to make public administration better to serve the people/populace.
This explains why scholars are in constant search of making rational bound theories that could make it possible to make Man attain the Good-life power, Respect, Enlightenment, Well-being. Most theories are western liberal therefore, they see world from the western perspective. The major pre occupation of the west liberal civilization is that attainment of Good-life can be realized through Power, Well-being, Respect, and Enlightenment.
It implies the supremacy of the people in their majority aggregate in determining the direction of state policies and continuity or otherwise of same. Western liberal philosophers believe that people are the ultimate sovereign even though they have surrendered some to authority or government who exercise on their behalf. In the end it is the people that always count.
In this regards, western liberal thinkers or philosophers believe that a government is a utilitarian agency who functions to provide all the goodies of life to people; any thing short of that is arbitration/abnormality
This relates to concern about humanity of man most especially, it boarders on dignity, respect, honour, which man deserves better in terms of all the freedoms e.g. association, life, property, e.t.c.
This is sum total of mass consumption of information on all aspects of life so that the entire citizenry will have complete picture and detailed information about national-life including that of government. The government, its agencies and the political leadership are only a small fraction not all of the national-life.
This does not operate in a vacuum rather it is the sum total of three issues in one, all of which are interdependent in co committed and commensurate and are:-
• Decision making process
• Decision maker
• Decision making environment
DECISION MAKING PROCESS
This entails the methods followed in arriving at a choice out of an array of several alternatives. In a typical democratic setting, decision making process begins with formulation of issues, which comes about from the social environment referred to as INPUT from the demands of the sub-environment [socio-cultural,economic, religious, educational, psychological, individual, ecological- north, south, west, east. ] In a democracy, decision making is all encompassing because all the arms of government take decision in one form or the other.
The legislative for instance, through individual an collective acts of the peoples representatives make laws on behalf of all choosing amongst several arrays of alternatives is in itself the act of decision making and what ever is decided in terms of laws is complemented by the executive arm:
Federal level [Federal Executive Council]
State level [ State Executive Council]
Local level [Local Government Council]
When it comes to implementation, the council decides the most appropriate and best course of action and this in it self is an aspect of decision making.
The Judiciary interprets the laws and adjudicates in settlements of disputes/crisis. This in itself is also the act of decision making as the judges will sit down and pass judgments based on the issues available to them
Evaluation is one of components of decision making because it is concerned about results of action already formulated and implemented which forms a basis of complete circle of the decision making process and the process goes back into the another at times in a refined or reformed or reformulated decision which was earlier taken based on the outcome resulting from evaluation.
DECISION MAKING PROCESS
This does not operate by itself and in either of the three aspects discussed. It is always actualized by individuals and groups. On individual basis, [Decision maker] on collective basis [decision makers],.Therefore, here come in the relevance of factor two[ i.e. Decision maker].
Scholars differ in their expositions on the nature of decision maker. But one central thing that runs across all their ideas is that as human beings, a decision maker is not made in a day. Thus his nature can only be understood within the context of his life-long-socialisation experiences. In other words, it is the nature of his socialization[i.e. trainings ] he receives since childhood that determines his personality. Here in comes the relevance of the culture that brought him up. This culture can macro [i.e. general] or micro [i.e. specific] or it can be supra [i.e. continental –Africans ], super [i.e. nation -Nigeria- Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba] and local.
This relates to the primitive stage in one’s life and directed towards those things he does with out been taught by any other person. E.g. a child sucking his mother’s breast immediately after birth or a finger or anything is inserted into his mouth. This is also referred to as the unconscious stage or natural stage.
This is the sub conscious stage in one’s life when begins to recognize and differentiate and recognize those things that he was not able to at the Id stage. At this stage he no longer would suck a finger or anything that is not his mother’s breast, knows his mother and would reject or refused to be carried by people he don’t recognize and can differentiate between a pleasant taste-sweet and bitter things –drugs. This is also referred to as the learning stage.
Super ego stage
This is the maturity stage in one’s life when he begins to struggle to strike a balance between himself and his environment and the society in general. He attempts to also balance between the natural and moral things to do or not to do. This is the pojint at which high level counseling and foundation for morality is laid. This stage is referred to also as the building and stabilization stage.
There are many theories in public policy making. The Maxian is one of one the many. This centered on class as the major determinant of who controls who?, who decides for who?,. according to Karl Max, it is the nature of a class based on economic determinism, who owns what in terms of economic production, distribution, and consumption. On one hand are the propertied class who owns the capital ,-means o production and by extension the policy-maker. In other words the class that controls the infrastructure automatically controls the Super Structure. The economic is infrastructure or tangible values of the society. He who pays the piper controls the tune.
Super Structure is defined “as the intangible values of society which include-socio-cultural belief, politics and all that it contains and on a fundamental basis-religion. In other words the propertied class, because of their ability to control the economy are also able to control the eco-surplus of production , there by enslaving the labour fundamentally on eco-terms and since it is the eco-status that determines one’s belief, political –power and religious persuasions. The propertied class who always control the economy may differ based on particularity of mode of production. According to Max, those who control the means of production beginning from slave mode, feudal mode, capitalist mode, socialists mode are those who also control other spheres of life, including political power. In a typical mode of production, the capitalist class are also those who control politics. In fact, they determine the –
• Outcome of politics
• Determine political agenda in terms of-who gets what, when to start and end conflict or crisis, and even who dies or live.
ELITE THEORY 20-02-10
According to the elite theorists, in every society , the ruling class are always a small, thinny, insignificant, minute minority, who constitute most times less than 5% of the population. They are able to discharge this role because certain characteristics which they possess which the people and the entire society Cherish, Value, and Recognise. These characteristics may vary and may include-
• Tradition [al]- culture, respect. e.t.c.
One fundamental factor which the elite theory emphasis is that the leading elites in all societies are able to Control and Rule people base on their ability to organize. Thus, Gaetono, Vilperator, Masco, Wright, are the main elite theorists who counter the Marxian class analysis to encompass thesis of western liberal perspectives. According to them, it is not Eco-power alone that create leadership in a society, other factors that boarders on Personal Qualities and Qualifications. According to western theorists the behavior of the elite is not only determined by their Eco-Statue as believed the Marxian terms but also of fundamental from the psychological make-up which they acquire through life-long socialization. Herein comes the relevance of psycho- theorists who believe that man’s behavior is the outcome of his personality and this personality is more psychological than any other thing. There are many psycho-theorists but three broad categories are made-
I] Psycho-analytical [Sigmund Freud]
Man is fundamentally a psycho-being whose attitudes, behavior and even his perception are all predetermined by his psycho-frame –of mind and which he exhibits through three levels which are –
A] Unconscious level.
B] Sub-conscious level
C] Conscious level, and all these cumulative are acquired through life-longhistory from birth when the psycho-basis of man[ newly born ] is NATURAL which Sigmund Freud called the ID. This level of psycho[id] according to Freud is dominated by natural characteristics of traits in terms of Primitiveness, Instinctual and Mental frames.