Previous research on policy alienation of public professionals focused on alienation towards one specific policy. The present paper complements these studies by investigating general policy alienation, as notions of path dependency suggest it is valuable to understand feelings of strategic (national), tactical (organizational) and operational (personal) powerlessness and societal and client meaninglessness towards policies in general, instead of focusing solely on the experiences of public professionals with specific policies. We aimed at identifying main causes of general policy alienation at the government level. A review of the literature suggested that experienced trust from the government, policy consistency and informing are negatively related to general policy alienation. To test the hypotheses, we adopted a multi-method approach. On the basis of 21 semi-structured interviews we first determined that these three factors were experienced by the respondents as predictors of general policy alienation. Since policy alienation is a multidimensional concept, consisting of multiple dimensions, we then undertook a survey among 1.183 Dutch education professionals in order to determine the relative strengths of the relationships and to estimate for each dimension of general policy alienation which factors were most relevant. Theoretical contributions to the policy implementation literature concerning the attitudes and behaviours of public professionals, as well as directions for future research and practical implications, are discussed.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

van Engen, N.A.M, Tummers, L.G, Bekkers, V.J.J.M, & Steijn, A.J. (2013). General policy alienation of public professionals: Identifying structural causes at the government level. Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam. Retrieved from