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Policymakers: Beyond Organizational Power and Control

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Iberkis Faltas
April 9, 2019

The job of policymakers goes far beyond the complicated structure of dominance, control and power. Like most jobs that deal with policies, regulations and interpretation of the law, the variation and final determination go to the construct interpretation. Unfortunately, interpretations are significantly subjective and mostly influenced by personality, past experiences and practices. From time to time, little weight is done about the facts at hand. Policies do not have the cognitive mapping structures where one can take a quick look and have the overall policy fathomed. Polices are much more than just a quick glance to solve a problem, as they have a significant impact on the life and future of others.

Regardless of the public or private sector, policymakers are advised to take their time to explore the problems they are looking to fix with policies. Policymakers should explore the past, present and future impact that creating such a policy will have, not only in the organization but also in on the person. Policies must be tailored to the problems that need solving, and those solutions and different approaches will change depending upon the needs, focus, requirements, targeted organization, targeted population, and socio-economic environment. But it seems that these factors are the last to be considered when dealing with policy issues. Still, preestablished approaches do not always work in a way that would solve the problem at its core.

Thus, it might sound redundant because more often than not this is taken for granted and many just choose to forget about it. All policymakers must always remember that their behavior, actions and decisions are likely to have a defining impact in the lives of the people next to them. Policies are rules and regulations established to have a decisive impact on organizations and governmental establishments in relation to socioeconomic, socio-political, managerial and other bureaucratic structures. But policies are also a way to guarantee the cooperation and commitment of others. Policies give us the power to control those who are bound by them.

Unfortunately, it seems as if the use of policies have become more of an obscurely, fairly distinctive fine line between those with the greatest power and the rest of the people beneath that power. It does not seem that policies are used for the public’s interest anymore, but rather to establish an internal structure of authoritarianism to create a fascist environment.

Policies are systems of principles created to guide decisions and achieve logical, rational results for the good of the people, and the good of the organization. We must bring back the primary purpose for creating policies if we want to maintain social and organizational balance.

In contemporaneous societies, there are many strategies used to help policymakers focus on their purpose without being side-tracked by power. There are principles and guidelines created to provide a wide understanding and to guide behaviors, actions, process and performance. Scholar Nathan Hall, from the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom explained that policies, “Represent the organization’s instructions to its employees for dealing with a given problem.” People must understand the power given to policymakers. But policymakers must also understand the power that has been given to them.

Here are a few ideas: Policies must be goal and process oriented, as well as objective, concrete, and specific to the needs of the people and organization. Policymakers must take into consideration each intimate sociological, political and environmental condition, including all those cognitive and pragmatic deliberations that could and will have an unexpected result. Instead of fixing the issues under review, the policy can actually create worse problems, as we have often seen. As such, policymakers must show a mind and way of thinking that reflects environments free of prejudgments, preconceptions and predispositions. Policymakers must focus on solving the problem, instead of bureaucratic internal politics, in order to eliminate self-interest and other vulnerabilities, such as a hostile, antagonistic workplace. Society expects much more from policymakers. Why not start by learning about oneself in order to create policies that will help others. Emotional intelligence guides individuals to use the emotional data in their environment to make decisions, solve problems, guide communication and relationships and care for others. Here are a few suggestions from an emotional intelligence viewpoint:

Table 1 Emotional Intelligence & Policymakers


Author:
Iberkis Faltas, Ph.D.
Public Policy & Admimistration
Law & Policy | Management & Leadership
Emotional Intelligence Psychometrician
[email protected]
www.linkedin.com/in/iberkisfaltas

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The American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.

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