What needs to be done and how it needs to be done are at two ends of the policy implementation spectrum. Much research is centred on the ‘what’ and is lacking in the ‘how’. A policy-maker will have to consider the interplay of several factors, as well as the probable practical social, cultural, economic and political consequences of implementing what needs to be done. He is privy to the availability of resources and is constrained by them. Ideally, accountability to citizens is expected of him. Fortunately, an academic is not burdened by such responsibilities, which is why suggestions and recommendations for improvement can occur in a liberal space and with a long-term perspective. As the saying goes – ‘Easier said than done.’ Therein lies the disconnect between academics and practitioners. There is a trade-off between long-term progress and short-term gains. Academics have no power in reversing this trend. However, they may be able to exert greater influence on policy implementation and outcome by placing equal weight on the ‘how’, along with the ‘what’ in their analysis. This requires deeper and broader research through various lenses in the form of theories. More possibilities and probabilities (subject to availability of resources) need to be explored in order to craft credible ‘hows’ for practitioners’ consideration. Let us take steps in this direction.
Let’s Bridge the Gap!