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Running head: POLICY STREAMS 1
SOWK 6361 Week 5 Assignment
Racquel Walsh
Walden University
Discuss the three streams Kingdon has identified where problems originate, and provide
your opinion on which one most accurately reflects how and why policies come about.
John Kingdon’s work utilizes various metaphors. Kingdon’s aquatic metaphor that has
captured the attention of many policy scholars is the “policy streams”. The policy stream consists
of three policies which are the problem stream, the policy stream, and the politics stream.
According to Kingdon, the three streams flow independently of one another until certain factors
cause the streams to merge with one another. An example of a factor is the crisis phenomenon.
The problem with the crisis phenomenon is that it can manifest critically, the political will is
present in order to address the issue, and the solution then becomes merged with problem and
politics, this then creates an open window of opportunity for policy change by policy
entrepreneurs (Howlett, McConnell, & Perl 2015).
The problem stream primarily refers to the problems faced by society that are linked with
policies that need attention. The problems are generally issues of concern that an abundance of
individuals want to see a change in. The policy streams focuses on the various possible solutions
in policies that derive from policymakers and lobby groups. The politics stream refers to factors
such as changes in legislative turnover, the government, and the opinions of the public. I think
that the policy stream most accurately reflects how and why policies come about. The policy
stream plays a very vital role when it comes to changes being made in government laws and
regulations. The policy stream also includes the input of individuals who analyzes policies as
well as experts who offer solutions by analyzing possible problems that may arise.
Discuss the assertion that certain kinds of issues receive preferential treatment in problem
solutions and political streams.
The politics stream gives an considerable amount of attention to certain problems. This is
done mainly due to public policy being influenced by there being a need to find the solution to
problems as well as the need to be seen when it comes to the problem in the political stream
being addressed. I believe that this makes political leaders put whatever their personal problems
and beliefs may be before the problems of people in society. An increase in the attention and
interest to manage certain problems can create situations that can cause certain issues to develop
within the political agenda which then disappears almost instantly. Efforts made to find solutions
diminishes because of certain preferences that are among policymakers when it comes to finding
the solutions to problems.
Discuss tactics that policy practitioners use within each of the three streams to increase the
odds that a specific issue will be placed on decision agendas.
Tactics that are used within the problem stream are raising awareness on the issue.
Raising awareness on the issues can attract the attention of the public, policymakers, and
lobbyists. The policy stream also uses the tactic of making sure that the issue is clearly
understood. It is very important for the issue and the effects and impact that it can have are
understood. If the issue and the effect and impact that it can have on society is clearly
understood, then it will make it easier to know what can be done to find a solution to the problem
as well as what type of policy to put in place for the problem. Creating public concern about the
policy is a tactic that can also be used. Individuals should also need to have a clear understanding
of how the policy can affect/impact them both indirectly and directly.
The political stream is created as an outcome of changes that happens within
administrations or within the majority party in the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the
election of new officials. “Each participant can be theoretically involved in all streams; however,
the participants tend to specialize in either one or two streams” (Larkin 2012). Policies are
created by researchers, academics, and bureaucrats as well, then those who have been politically
and officials who have been elected work together so that their policy proposals are made passed.
Howlett, M., McConnell, A., & Perl, A. (2015). Streams and stages: Reconciling Kingdon and
policy process theory. European Journal of Political Research, 54(3), 419-434.
Kingdon, J.W. (2011). Agendas, alternatives and public policies, 2nd edn. Boston, MA:
Larkin Jr, P. J. (2012). John Kingdom's Three Streams Theory and the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act of 1966. JL & Pol., 28, 25.
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