Policy alienation of public professionals: The development of a scale
Today, many public professionals feel estranged from the policy programs they implement. That is, they experience ‘policy alienation’. This is of concern as, for satisfactory implementation, some identification with the policy is required. We develop a quantitative scale to measure policy alienation. Policy alienation is associated conceptually with five (sub) dimensions: 1. strategic powerlessness, 2. tactical powerlessness, 3. operational powerlessness, 4. societal meaninglessness and 5. client meaninglessness. We developed Likert-type items for these (sub) dimensions to create a policy alienation scale. This scale is refined by interviewing twenty experts. The refined scale is administered in a survey of 470 healthcare professionals implementing a new financial reward policy: Diagnosis Treatment Combinations. The resulting 23-item policy alienation scale shows good psychometric qualities. Construct validity tests show that policy alienation correlates as expected with job satisfaction, role conflicts and change willingness. A reliable and valid policy alienation scale can add to the understanding why implementing public professionals embrace or resist particular public policies.