Policy Sciences

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 1–21 | Cite as

Understanding and influencing the policy process

  • Christopher M. WeibleEmail author
  • Tanya Heikkila
  • Peter deLeon
  • Paul A. Sabatier


This essay translates some of the underlying logic of existing research of policy processes into a set of strategies for shaping policy agendas and influencing policy development and change. The argument builds from a synthesized model of the individual and a simplified depiction of the political system. Three overarching strategies are introduced that operate at the policy subsystem level: developing deep knowledge; building networks; and participating for extended periods of time. The essay then considers how a democratic ethic can inform these strategies. Ultimately, the success or failure of influencing the policy process is a matter of odds, but these odds could be changed favorably if individuals employ the three strategies consistently over time. The conclusion contextualizes the arguments and interprets the strategies offered as a meta-theoretical argument of political influence.


Advocacy Public policy Policy analysis Policy change Institutional change Learning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher M. Weible
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tanya Heikkila
    • 1
  • Peter deLeon
    • 1
  • Paul A. Sabatier
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Public AffairsUniversity of Colorado DenverDenverUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science and PolicyUniversity of California DavisDavisUSA

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