Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 1259–1272 | Cite as

Policy entrepreneurs and strategies for change

  • Stijn BrouwerEmail author
  • Dave Huitema
Original Article


Despite the fact that we currently witness an increasing interest in the study of the role of agency in policy dynamics, it remains in many respects a puzzle how policy change can be explained, let alone directed. This paper focusses intently on the concept, incidence, and strategic behaviour of policy entrepreneurs. By elucidating their strategic modus operandi, we aim to contribute to a better understanding of the strategies that individual change agents employ in their efforts to effect policy change, as well as to examine their contextual effectiveness. In addition to new data on the incidence and profile of policy entrepreneurs and the (contextual) conditions relating to the selection of strategies, this paper presents a novel typology of entrepreneurial strategies, linking these to circumstances under which they can be effective. Our paper concludes with a discussion on how our findings relate to the main theories of policy change, and what they mean for the larger democratic questions about accountability and legitimacy.


Policy entrepreneurs Strategies Water governance Climate change Policy change 



We thank Springer International Publishing who have kindly given permission for the use of material from Brouwer (2015), Policy Entrepreneurs in Water Governance: Strategies for Change.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.KWR Watercycle Research InstituteNieuwegeinThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute for Environmental StudiesVU UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Faculty of Management, Science and TechnologyNetherlands Open UniversityHeerlenThe Netherlands

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