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The Policy/Administration Continuum: Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Decisions

Christine L. Thomas
Public Administration Review
Vol. 50, No. 4 (Jul. - Aug., 1990), pp. 446-449
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Society for Public Administration
DOI: 10.2307/977080
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/977080
Page Count: 4
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Abstract

The decision-making realm of citizen boards has been the subject of a great deal of research. In Public Administration Review, Henry and Harms linked the placement of board decision making on Svara's decision continuum to statutory authority vested in the boards. This research tests the findings of Henry and Harms on the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board. Findings indicate that this board makes decisions mainly at the mission/policy end of the continuum. Consistent with the previous research, findings also indicate activity at the administration/management end. This research indicates that exercise of decision-making authority at the administration/management end of the continuum is linked to political pressure and a possible failure of policy decisions to meet public needs. Throughout the 120-year history of Wisconsin's resource management and environmental protection agencies, there has been only one period (1915-1927) when the agencies have not been under the direction of a citizen board. Board members said that the Board rarely operates at the administration/management end of the continuum and that they do not belong there in their decision making. When the administration/management expression of policy creates enough political pressure, the Board may be forced to that end of the decision continuum by that pressure.

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