Policy alienation of public professionals: The construct and its measurement
Currently, there is an intense debate on the pressures facing public professionals during policy implementation. Frequently professionals have difficulty identifying with new policies, resulting in among else diminished policy performance. We examine this problem using the concept of ‘policy alienation’, for which we have developed and tested a scale for its measurement. Policy alienation is conceptually associated with five sub-dimensions: strategic powerlessness, tactical powerlessness, operational powerlessness, societal meaninglessness and client meaninglessness. Likert-type items have been developed for these sub-dimensions which together create a policy alienation scale. The initial scale was reviewed by interviewing 21 experts. These items were then administered in a survey of 478 Dutch healthcare professionals implementing a new financial policy: Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG, or DBC). The resulting 23-item policy alienation scale demonstrated good psychometric qualities. A reliable and valid policy alienation scale can ultimately help in understanding and enhancing policy performance.