Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


University of Wollongong - Graduate School of Education


O'Mullane, Michael Joseph. 1994). Planning of the Implementation of Public Policy: A Case Study of the Board of Studies, N.S. W. A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Graduate School of Education), The University of Wollongong, N.S.W.

This case study of the implementation of 1990 N.S.W. curriculum and credentialing reform policy by the Board of Studies, N.S.W. explores the planning involved in converting the intentions of public policy into more specific guidelines.

The analysis is conducted within a conceptual framework developed from relevant theories and prior findings on the nature of public policy, of planning, and of organizational processes which bring policy and planning together.

Specific research questions investigated relate to the characteristics of implementation plans, implementation planning processes undertaken, and the factors which influence the planning process.

A multiperspectivist approach is taken to data collection and analysis, combining the assumptions of logical-positivism and non logical-positivism through the use of three different instruments: documents, interviews and participant observation.

The findings include the recognition that implementation plans constitute two hierarchies, one based on corporate level plans, the other based on the personal plans of managers. The plans are highly compatible with the policy but there is a tendency for lower level plans to relate less directly to the policy intentions.

Three implementation planning processes have been recognized: organizational planning and design, macro-planning and micro-planning. Planning processes have been found to involve a high degree of negotiation among managers, between managers and the Board, and between the President of the Board and the Minister. Consequently, consistency among plans is achieved through both consensus and compliance.

A range of external environmental and internal organizational factors have been identified as influencing planning. The latter are found to have a more significant influence.

The study relates the findings to existing theory and indicates the emergence of a theory of implementation planning.

Finally, a number of proposals are made in the areas of public policy implementation planning, curriculum and credentialling policy implementation planning, and epistemological and methodological choice in implementation research.

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Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.