Policy Design and Nodal Governance: A Comparative Analysis of Determinants of Environmental Policy Change in a South African City
Froestad, J., Grimwood, S., Herbstein, T. & Shearing, C. 2015. Policy Design and Nodal Governance: A Comparative Analysis of Determinants of Environmental Policy Change in a South African City. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research & Practice, 17(2): 174-191.
22 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2015
Date Written: October 14, 2015
This contribution focuses on a policy paradox, a failed attempt to introduce a Solar Water Heater bylaw in a South African city in spite of much initial support, both politically and professionally. The paper combines a policy design and a nodal governance perspective to explain why the law failed to materialise. It uses categories developed by the nodal governance approach to characterise the mentalities and technologies of the public agencies involved in the policy process, and explore how distinct policy cultures are nurtured by the networked relations and concomitant learning contexts of these agencies. The analysis shows how the agencies differ sharply on philosophical and practical grounds as to how they typically think about policy values and interventions. This tends to make the collaboration between them difficult as each of them experiences the other as seeking to frustrate rather to assist the policy process. The paper documents how “superstitious learning” became a predominant trait of the bylaw process, as each of the agencies tended to look for evidence in the actions of officials in the other department that confirmed their stereotypical view of them, and reinforced it during the process of interaction. Insufficient attention was given, early on in the bylaw process, to the fact that these departments would have to cooperate closely and that “buy-in” from both was a critical condition for success. Due to this, unfortunate policy design choices fed forward through the implementation process and disabled opportunities for co-learning and collective problem-solving.
Keywords: policing; South Africa; nodal governance; environment
JEL Classification: K32, H70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation