Bureaucratic access points

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Sternemann, Daniel Thomas

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This paper studies how organizational mission influences policy implementation. Interagency conflicts and bureaucratic challenges affecting implementation are largely due to different missions and different assessment measures. The focus of this investigation is the relationship between humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) agencies and associated Department of Defense (DOD) medical components. Access point theory is important to this study, for it helps us understand how successful policy implementation is enabled in the midst of bureaucratic conflicts and challenges. The notion of access points has traditionally involved lobbyists and interest groups accessing elected officials and their staffs. I ask what is the effect of lobbyists and interest groups accessing bureaucrats directly in the policy implementation process and its subsequent evaluation. More importantly, I argue that bureaucrats take advantage of access points to other bureaucrats during policy implementation proceedings. This study offers the novel perspective that access points for HA/DR bureaucrats, to include those in the DOD, are readily available during the punctuating event (i.e., the natural disaster itself) and may be evaluated through the notions of timing, efficiency, and the information and capabilities they possess and can leverage during these punctuations. Simply stated, bureaucratic access points theory helps us understand how policies are successfully implemented in the midst of bureaucratic conflicts and challenges.




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