Summary of "The Policy Making Process'

Summary of

The Policy Making Process

By Charles E. Lindblom

Summary written by Conflict Research Consortium Staff


Citation: Charles E. Lindblom. The Policy Making Process. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc., 1968, 120 pp.

The Policy-making Process is an examination of the process of policy-making from a political science perspective. It focuses upon analytic policy-making and the role of power therein.

The Policy-making Process has been required reading in multiple political science courses at the University of Colorado at Boulder. This work will be of interest to readers who wish to improve their understanding of the policy-making process. Lindblom has divided the work into three main parts with an introduction and appendix. Chapter one is an introduction which examines the relationship between policy-making and political science. Part one is devoted to the topic of analytic policy-making. The author discusses: policy analysis, the limits of that analysis and how one might make the most effective use of that analysis, however limited.

Part two focuses upon what Lindblom terms, 'the play of power'. The first chapter in this section outlines this metaphorical play. The author then examines in turn, the components, or those parties who are holding power to make policy. He first considers the citizen as policy-maker. Next, he examines the relationship between the voter and the competition between political parties for the power to make policy. The effect of interest-group leaders on the formation of policy is considered prior to a discussion of proximate policy-makers. The necessity and complexities of organized cooperation among these proximate policy-makers is the subject of chapter ten. Chapter eleven expands this discussion by considering informal cooperation among proximate policy-makers.

The final part is an overview containing two chapters. The first of which considers how policy-making is also a way for reconstructing preferences. The final chapter addresses three allegations made against the American policy-making system. That the system is out of control; that the system is controlled by an elite; and that regardless of the validity of either allegation, the system is not sufficiently responsive to ordinary citizens are examined separately. The text is appended with a summary of analysis, or executive summary of the book.

The Policy-making Process is an introductory analysis of policy-making. It offers a political science perspective which focuses upon power relationships in its assessment of policy-making.