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Review & Example. Lecture 7. McFarland Lectures. Thus Far. Learned multiple theories: Rational actor Organizational process Bureaucratic politics Focused on certain cases: Adams Avenue School Cuban Missile Crisis Chicago Public School Reform.

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Review & Example

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Review example

Review & Example

Lecture 7

McFarland Lectures

Thus far

Thus Far

Learned multiple theories:

  • Rational actor

  • Organizational process

  • Bureaucratic politics

    Focused on certain cases:

  • Adams Avenue School

  • Cuban Missile Crisis

  • Chicago Public School Reform

McFarland Lectures

Hypothetical example hurricane katrina

Hypothetical Example: Hurricane Katrina

  • Imagine you are Mayor Nagin in Louisiana and seeing Hurricane Katrina’s path emerge…

  • How would you us the tools we’ve learned?

    • Which would you use to help you prepare?

    • Which would you use after the hurricane hits?

McFarland Lectures

Hurricane katrina

Hurricane Katrina

McFarland Lectures

Why use these lenses

Why use these “lenses”?

Our theories, or lenses, offer you ways of organizing and ways of getting coordinated action. They are descriptive and feasibly prescriptive.

  • Broader range of experiences.

  • A systematic way of thinking about an organization and its problems.

  • Allude to other facets of the organization – other actors, their beliefs, influences from the environment, technologies, competing goals, etc.

McFarland Lectures

Exchange and coalitions

Exchange and Coalitions

Lecture 8

McFarland Lectures

Shortcomings of prior theories

Shortcomings of Prior Theories

  • Rational actor view

    • Often, people don’t have the same goal nor are they motivated by consequences.

  • Organizational process view

    • Organizational actors coordinate a wider array of participants and relevant SOP’s have parochial interests.

  • Bureaucratic politics view

    • How are parochial interests negotiated and collective decisions reached?

McFarland Lectures

This week

This week

  • More detail on bureaucratic politics – the dynamics of coalitions.

    • A special focus on the process of exchange and negotiation.

  • What are some examples of coalitions?

McFarland Lectures

Political coalitions

Political Coalitions

McFarland Lectures

Interest group coalitions

Interest Group Coalitions

Organizational Coalition

McFarland Lectures

Discussions of coalitions

Discussions of Coalitions

  • Allison’s Coalitions

    • Bureaucratic Politics Model

  • March’s Coalitions

    • Force versus Exchange Models

McFarland Lectures

The process of exchange

The process of exchange

  • Every actor enters into a voluntary exchange relation regulated by rules

  • Participants bring resources

  • The process of choice is one where mutually acceptable trades are arranged

  • Each actor trades trying to improve their position, fulfilling their preferences / identity as best they can until no more legal / mutually acceptable trades are possible.

McFarland Lectures

How to manage win at exchange

How to manage / win at exchange

Your ability to fulfill your preferences / identity depends on three things:

  • control over the rules

  • control over resources

  • control over preferences / identities

    – To control exchange, follow the old adage – “get rich, seize a hostage, and build a better mousetrap!”

McFarland Lectures

Features of coalitions

Features of coalitions

Coalitions are social systems wherein decisions are made / reforms pursued within a …

  • Context of potential conflict.

  • The objective of members is to form a coalition capable of making decisions favorable to them.

  • People make exchanges (deals / agreements) as to what decisions will be made by the coalition.

  • Resources are extracted through coordinated action and distributed to competing coalition members.

McFarland Lectures

How do you manage coalitions

How do you manage coalitions?

Within the context of a coalition, the manager or developer of a coalition is primarily concerned with interaction processes by which exchanges are negotiated.

Q: What kinds of interactions create coalitions?

So managers of coalitions need to focus mostly here!

management of information


forming alliances

joining associations





McFarland Lectures

What threatens a coalition

What threatens a coalition?

(1) Ambiguity is good. When issues get cleared up or resolved, members tend to leave.

(2) Outcome optimism is needed. This often leads to post-decision disappointment and danger of dissolution during implementation.

(3) Support is exaggerated. This often leads the coalition falls apart as it nears implementation / adoption.

Implication: coalitions start strong and end weak, or fall apart in implementation. Building them requires bargaining, and maintaining them requires ambiguity and control over resources until the end.

McFarland Lectures

Hula and lobbying coalitions

Hula and Lobbying Coalitions

Lecture 9

McFarland Lectures

Hula and how lobbyists exchange

Hula and how lobbyists exchange

Exchange Model

  • Members participate in exchange for some benefit.

    • Free riding is less relevant as people have made the decision to already be a lobbyist or involved in some form.

  • More about selecting a type or level of involvement, not whether they get involved or not.

  • Coalition brokers work incentives to get people to participate in different ways to accomplish their interests better.

    Implication: Brokers manage exchange process at collective level so the coalition is held together.

McFarland Lectures

Why join a coalition

Why join a coalition?

  • It helps member organizations to latch onto a broader policy or goal that all can agree they are for or against.

  • By joining early you can shape the agenda and platform of the coalition.

  • Coalition members get access to information.

  • The symbolic benefits of membership.

McFarland Lectures

How do members vary in commitment

How do members vary in commitment?

Incentives a particular group responds to in joining the coalition will strongly influence the ultimate role the group will play in the coalition structure.

  • Coremembers (founders)

  • Players (specialists)

  • Tag-alongs (periphery)

McFarland Lectures

Interest goals resources and commitment of coalition members drawn from hula page 41

Interest, Goals, Resources and Commitment of Coalition Members(drawn from Hula, page 41)

McFarland Lectures

What do these commitments mean for the maintenance of a coalition

What do these commitments mean for the maintenance of a coalition?

“When hunting, those pursuing a deer will be willing to share; those pursuing a rabbit will kill it and not share” - Rousseau p. 43

  • Core members want nothing less than the stag.

  • Players may jump for the rabbit if they can – so make sure coalition is route to a rabbit as well.

  • Tag-along’s are the least committed, but they join to get selective benefits of information and symbolic clout.

McFarland Lectures

How do you develop and manage a coalition

How do you develop and manage a coalition?

  • Identify all interested actors / organizations in the environment.

  • Why would they be interested and whose side would they be on?

  • Keep in mind that staff members have histories and inter-group linkages you can draw upon.

  • Work social exchange.

McFarland Lectures

M ilwaukee voucher program coalition case

Milwaukee Voucher Program – Coalition Case

  • This reading is available for free

    (see Rand Quinn case material)

  • Some of you will see this case written up in the papers you evaluate using the grading rubric.

  • Let’s discuss it on the forum this week!

McFarland Lectures

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