Upscaling from Individual to Collective Learning in Policy Process Research

35 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 7 Sep 2010

See all articles by Chris Weible

Chris Weible

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Tanya Heikkila

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA)

Andrea K. Gerlak

University of Arizona

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Although learning is one of the most widely-acknowledged determinants shaping policy processes, the concept remains theoretically and methodologically under-developed in the policy process literature. Most notably, there is an incomplete understanding of the factors affecting “upscaling,” or moving from individual-level learning to collective-level learning. As learning continues to occupy research agendas of policy process research, this paper seeks to provide insights from the diverse social science literatures that examine individual learning in collective context to better understand the nature of the learning process and learning products, and the factors that support learning. We examine the treatment of learning within two major policy process frameworks -- the advocacy coalition framework and institutional analysis and development framework -- and compare how they define learning and what insights they offer for understanding how learning translates from the individual to collective level. In understanding the translation from individual to collective level learning, we focus on the explanatory factors that can be gleaned from both frameworks to explain how and when learning is likely to upscale from individual to collective levels. We identify important complementarities between the two frameworks in examining these factors and conclude with developing a set of propositions for studying learning in policy processes. These propositions highlight how the nature of the issue of concern, characteristics of the collective actors, and characteristics of the institutions governing a collective setting will all factor into the likelihood of learning emerging in policy processes.

Suggested Citation

Weible, Chris and Heikkila, Tanya and Gerlak, Andrea K., Upscaling from Individual to Collective Learning in Policy Process Research (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1642879

Chris Weible (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Tanya Heikkila

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) ( email )

420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Andrea K. Gerlak

University of Arizona ( email )

Department of History
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

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