discuss the incremental model of public policy analysis

Introduction                                                                                               Policy
making/decision-making theories or models are many and varied, although Yehezkel Dror has tried to sum them
up into what he refers to as normative
models or rational comprehensive and incremental models: or strictly speaking non-normative and normative models. For the purpose of this research, we are
asking to discuss the incremental models. 
Public policy may be defined as a course of action taken by a
government to address an issue or a matter of national importance or resolve a
problem or a crisis ~ Peter Johnson
Other definitions of
public  policy are:
policy is the sum of government activities, whether acting directly or
through agents, as it has an influence and impact on the life of
citizens.” ~ B. Guy Peters “Public policy can be generally defined as a
system of laws, programmes,  regulatory measures, courses of action and
funding priorities concerning a given topic promulgated by a government entity
or its representatives.” ~ Dean G. G. Kilpatrick  
Incremental can be defined as the process of increasing in number size,
quantity, or extent.                                                                       
                         Model: OALD (2001) defines a
model as “copy of something, usually smaller than
the original object’1. A model is a systematic phenomenon. This
allows for a more comprehensive approach for understanding the
phenomenon. For example, a plan draw by an architect could be
said to be a model of a proposed building.                                                                                                                                                  


 Over the years, there has been much
debate on how to accurately describe decision making processes in general. Beyond an implicit
agreement that decisions
are made through some sort of chaotic or otherwise, there is little else scholars agree upon. Rainey (2003; 160-169) summarizes
variations on four major approaches to decision-making found in public management literature,
none of which is uncontested;

Rational Decision-Making approach: This view of decision making suggests that decision-makers follow a
specific process where goals are decided upon, alternatives are developed in accordance with such goals, and then .the most efficient, alternative is
implemented (Baker, et al. 2002].
2.     The Contingency Perspectives Decision-Ma king
Approach: Some scholars
assert that rational decision-making can only occur under .stable, clear, simple conditions. (Rainey, 2003:
164). Because these conditions often
are not present, decision-makers must use judgment and intuition, and undertake in bargaining and political maneuvering
in their decision-making
process. According to Rainey, James Thompson asserted that the level of
agreement amongst decision-makers on goals and the amount of technical knowledge amongst decision-makers
on how to implement solutions
or tasks determined whether or not a decision-making process could be rational.
3. The Incremental Decision-Making
Approach:  Relying upon Charles Lindblom.s (1950).The Science of Muddling
Through. Rainey states that the responsiveness of decision makers to the requirement
for political consensus
and compromise necessarily leads to unclear goals that result in the restricting of .the six of the
changes [decision-makers] propose. (Rainey, 2003: 165-166). In other words, instead of choosing an
alternative that a
rational decision-making process would predict, decision-makers choose to make less controversial,
Intermediary decisions to ensure some degree of success of achieving vague
goals presented.
4.                   The
Garbage Can .Decision-Making Approach; This idea comes from the observation that decisions are made in
organizations when particular decision-making opportunities or requirements
arise. (Rainey, 2003: 167-168).
in this model, .it is often unclear who has the authority to decide what and for whom. (Rainey, 2003: 168). It is
the antithesis to the rational decision-making model; solutions can be
developed before problems are determined
to exist (Id.; Sec also Kingdom, 2003, pp. 84-86). in other words, instead of following the aforementioned
.conveyor belt, decision-makers
may be waiting for an opportunity to advocate actions already planned. Once attention is brought to a
problem that is related to their kept-orj-ihe she! faction, decision-makers
then propose it at this time (Kingdom. (2003) term for this opportunity is a .policy window, (p. 166)
Only a few options and means are considered
Decisions arc the product of negotiated settlements
Changes arc made gradually over time
Decisions tend to be made reactively
Political considerations are important in determining
The incremental approach to decision
making is reflective of the Program, Planning, Budgeting, and Executing (PPBE)
process used in the military. The greatest predetermining factor for any year’s
budget is the prior year’s budget. Anything more than incremental change is
unlikely when it comes to the budgetary process. An item might be submitted and
approved in the Program Objective Memorandum (POM), and might be incrementally
added to by using the Supplemental Budget to gain more resources for it.


This model can be used when the requirement of the
complete policies are
defined and understood.
Major requirements must be defined; however, some detail
can evolve the
When resources with needed skill set are not available.


Instrumentalism is commonly employed in politics, engineering, software design, planning
and industry.
Whereas it is often criticized as “fire fighting”, the progressive
improvement of product designs characteristic, e.g., of Japanese engineering can create
steadily improving product performance, which in certain circumstances
outperforms more orthodox planning systems.
Another example would be in small changes
that make way for a bigger overall change to get past unnoticed. A series of
small steps toward an agenda would be less likely to be questioned than a large
and swift change. An example could be the rise of gas prices; the company would
only raise the price by a few cents every day, instead of a large change to a
target price overnight. More people would notice and dispute a dramatic, 100%
increase overnight, while a 100% increase over a span of a week would less
likely be even noticed, let alone argued. This can be applied in many different
ways, such as, economics, politics, a person’s appearance, or laws.

Advantages of Incremental

  • Generates working software quickly and early during the
    software life cycle.
  • This model is more flexible – less costly to change
    scope and requirements.
  • It is easier to test and debug during a smaller
  • In this model customer can respond to each built.
  • Lowers initial delivery cost.
  • Easier to manage risk because risky pieces are
    identified and handled during it’d iteration.
Disadvantages of
Incremental model:
  • Needs good planning and design.
  • Needs a clear and complete definition of the whole
    system before it can be broken down and built incrementally.
  • Total cost is higher than waterfall.

Significance of Public

(i)  Public
policy plays an important role in shaping the responses of the various fields
of human endeavour – such as education, housing, welfare, healthcare,
agriculture, defence, transportation, etc to public needs.
(ii) Public policy
is essential to achieving meaningful changes or reforms or improvements 
in government administration and its services and activities.  It is also
instrumental in bringing about socio-economic development in a country.
Public policy serves as a tool or instrument  for  identifying 
issues of national concern or problems,  implementing   the best
course of action for  resolving the problems and evaluating the impact
of  the action taken by the government to resolve the problems or issues.
(iv)  It
consists of political decisions for the implementation of specific programmes
to attain the objectives  of the nation. It is therefore important as it
is concerned with the goals of a country, intending to create positive impacts.
Through public policy, the government strives to advance the collective
well-being- social, political, and economic- of a society.

Incrementalism (Incremental

views public policy as a continuation of past government activities or policies
with only incremental changes (perubahan tambahan) or modifications
(pengubahsuaian). Because an in-depth analysis of the costs and benefits of
every conceivable alternative for dealing with a problem in public policy is
often very time-consuming and expensive, public organizations may resort
to a practical shortcut in deciding on possible improvements to existing
programmes. Only a few of the many possible options or alternatives and their
consequences are seriously considered or examined. Policy-makers generally
accept the legitimacy of established programmes and agree to continue previous
or existing policies. They accept previous policies because of the uncertainty
and lack of information  about the consequences of completely new or
different policies. In this model, existing programmes or policies or
expenditures are considered as a base and only small changes, and not radical
innovations, are made to existing policies.  There is no optimal policy
decision – a good policy is one that is acceptable to all groups rather
than what is best to solve a problem.
policy-making is essentially remedial; it focuses on small and gradual changes
to existing policies rather than dramatic fundamental changes or radical
innovations. In this model, policy-making is also serial, you have to keep
coming back to problems as mistakes become apparent and are
corrected, and new approaches to the issues are developed gradually. The model
suggests that major changes occur through a series of of small steps, each of
which does not fundamentally ‘rock the boat.’  “The policy process is
one of muddling through” (Lindblom, 1980). An example of instrumentalism
often cited  concerns increases or decreases in annual government budgets,
ranging from 5 to 10
Policy model provides a guide line for policy making. Because policy
making involves
futures action and it is unpredictable therefore there is a need for base to guide policy
making. Public policy making helps in the selection, collection and interpretation
ordering and analyzing relevant data. Policy model can be employed to select
the needed once depending on the situation of the policy. Another great
importance of public policy is that it enables the policy maker to clarify and direct inquiry,
it also gives attention to the range of suggestion on new alternatives that
can be used for action. Instrumentalism create an enabling atmosphere and
provide a better frame work for policy evaluation due to its attachment to the past
for better analysis of the present and the future.




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Strategic change: logical incrementalism. Sloan Management Review 20 (1), 7–21.
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(1978). Strategic Change: “Logical Incrementalism.” Sloan Management
Review, 20 (1), p7.
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Harbridge, L. (June 2010). Incrementalism in Appropriations: Small Aggregation,
Big Changes. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
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February 1). Medicare and the Politics of Incrementalism. Retrieved October 2,
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Kristiansen (Copenhagen, 1989); “Industrial Innovation and Incremental
Learning: The Case of Danish Wind Technology from 1975 to 1988
7.     Raghu Garuda &
Peter Karnøe; “Bricolage versus breakthrough: distributed and embedded
agency in technology entrepreneurship”, Research Policy 32 (2003) 277–300
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(1990). Policy change as innovation and incrementalism: The case of plan 6
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