Policy Sciences

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 221–245

Leadership in collaborative policy-making: An analysis of agency roles in regulatory negotiations

  • Clare M. Ryan

DOI: 10.1023/A:1012655400344

Cite this article as:
Ryan, C.M. Policy Sciences (2001) 34: 221. doi:10.1023/A:1012655400344


Regulatory negotiation is a process by which representatives of affected interests, along with the regulatory agency, attempt to negotiate a consensus agreement on the content of a regulation. This study represents an empirical effort to begin to identify and sort out the roles that an agency plays in a collaborative policy-making process such as regulatory negotiation. Three regulatory negotiation cases were examined to determine the perceived roles of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials and other participants, and the study suggests a number of findings. First, that EPA fulfills a number of different roles (Expert, Analyst, Stakeholder, Facilitator and Leader) in a negotiation process; second, that EPA is expected to be an active participant in the negotiations, not simply an overseer or facilitator of interests; and finally, EPA interprets its primary role much more narrowly – as that of an expert – than do other participants. Non-agency participants view EPA's primary role as a leader, which combines technical and substantive components as well as process components. Where previously and in the theoretical literature, agencies exercise leadership through statutory authority or technical expertise, this study suggests that there are additional dimensions to that leadership role. In a collaborative process such as regulatory negotiation, the agency finds itself in a realm that demands that they effectively merge the roles of expert, analyst, and stakeholder into a more complex leadership role than has been suggested in the past.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clare M. Ryan
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Forest ResourcesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleU.S.A