HUM 5100 – 3 Prior to beginning work on this discussion forum, read Chapter 4: Interpretive Planning and Emergent Approaches in Comparative Approaches to P

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Prior to beginning work on this discussion forum, read Chapter 4: Interpretive Planning and Emergent Approaches in Comparative Approaches to Program Planning.

How do you determine when a program modification is necessary? What do you believe are the most vital steps to modifying an existing, but inefficient or defunct program?

“unlimited number of possibilities for creative thinking. For exam-ple, have you ever been in a situation in which someone said,‘‘We’re spinning our wheels,’’ yet in the process something newand interesting emerged? What was that about? Conversely, haveyou ever participated in something that was highly planful, inwhich a very specific set of goals and objectives was guidingthe effort, but it simply did not work no matter how close onestuck to the plan? In the former situation, ‘‘spinning our wheels’’is a metaphor for going in circles. In the process new ideas wereemerging even though it felt redundant and unfocused. In the lattersituation, having a detailed plan and placing it over a changingcontext might have meant that no one (no matter how skilled) couldhave preidentified how things would unfold. The program plan-ning process unfolds in different ways, depending on its uniquecontext. Oneapproachdoes not fit all situations. We believe that bothare useful and that the skilled practitioner must learn when to usedifferent approaches. Both can be based on evidence in a world thatis smitten with evidence-based practice. As you will see, the evi-dence used may be somewhat different in what, where, and whendata are collected and analyzed.Over a period of years a case management project was funded bya large private foundation. A health administrator, a social worker, aphysician, and a nurse collaborated in responding to the request forproposals (RFP) to evaluate the project. There were eight project sitesaround the country, all of which had received funding to implementtheir case management interventions in physician practices in theirrespective locations. Each site was embedded in highly respectedhealth care systems with dedicated, competent staff. The evaluationteam began traveling to each site to assess these projects—each de-signed within its specific contexts. Each had measurable objectives,and on paper every project looked feasible. However, given localpreferences, different practitioners performed case management”

“Some were nurses, others were social workers, some were physicianassistants, still others were nurse practitioners, and some had mixeddisciplinary teams. Every site used a different assessment tool, basedon the current instruments used in its health care environment.The work location of the case managers were different, given thatsome were colocated in physician offices, others were in adjacentbuildings, and still others were in acentral location from which theymoved between physician offices on aregular basis. As the evaluationteam interviewed various participants in these projects, it becameincreasingly clear that the projects were ‘‘apples and oranges,’’ andthe interventions were not the same, even though all were doing casemanagement. Each project had its own culture, structure, and normsof intervention.The team recognized that each project had to be evaluatedbased on its own objectives, not the overall objectives of the foun-dation because the projects were really not comparable. This wasfine; but what they soon realized was that each project had its ownchallenges. A few were moving toward their objectives in whatseemed to be a consistent way; however, the majority of sites werein constant flux given the changingnatureofthehealthcarefield.Staff came and went; physician practices merged; patients’ needsshifted; interorganizational relationships changed—and on andon. Original objectives became obsolete as project needs altered.Further, patient input during the intervention revealed a wholeset of needs that had not been originally identified. Yet the foun-dation held the projects accountable to the original plans they hadproposed in their grant applications because that was what theprojects had contracted to do. The evaluation team had difficultyremaining detached. In fact, every time the team made a visitand asked questions, new issues and concerns emerged abouthow a project had or needed to change to make it responsive”

“In this example, very well-written plans were still on file in thefoundation offices, but many of them had become obsolete in theprocess of implementation. Being tied to these plans became adilemma for staff and for the evaluation team. Without the latitudeto change in midstream, it became clear to the evaluation team thatthese projects were propelling forward, actually ‘‘doing’’ thingsdifferently but ‘‘pretending’’ that the plans they had submittedwere what they were carrying out. How many times have practi-tioners found themselves in situations where they remain tetheredto obsolete plans because the plans did not allow for flexibility?How many times do experts write plans that do not consider clientneeds or the views of various stakeholders, feasibility, or context?How often do program coordinators inherit plans that look logicalon paper only to find that they do not hold up in ‘‘real life?’’ Howoften do funders require a particular format that demands up-frontoutcomeswhen the ‘‘real’’ outcomes have to emerge in process? Ifany of these questions ring a bell with you, then you may find whatfollows to be useful.LINES AND CIRCLES AS PLANNING METAPHORSSome scientific thought distinguishes no difference between aline and a circle. This is supported by the idea that if you makethe line long enough, it ultimately becomes a circle. Senge assertsthat, ‘‘Reality is made up of circles but we see straight lines’’ (1990,p. 71). In this book we are concerned with lines and circles and whatthey have to do with how one thinks about and does programplanning.Metaphorically, lines and circles conjure up different images.Being linear includes moving in a concerted direction: upward,downward, backward, forward, or sideways. Circles also havedirectionality, but they go round and round, reconnecting “

“In this example, very well-written plans were still on file in thefoundation offices, but many of them had become obsolete in theprocess of implementation. Being tied to these plans became adilemma for staff and for the evaluation team. Without the latitudeto change in midstream, it became clear to the evaluation team thatthese projects were propelling forward, actually ‘‘doing’’ thingsdifferently but ‘‘pretending’’ that the plans they had submittedwere what they were carrying out. How many times have practi-tioners found themselves in situations where they remain tetheredto obsolete plans because the plans did not allow for flexibility?How many times do experts write plans that do not consider clientneeds or the views of various stakeholders, feasibility, or context?How often do program coordinators inherit plans that look logicalon paper only to find that they do not hold up in ‘‘real life?’’ Howoften do funders require a particular format that demands up-frontoutcomeswhen the ‘‘real’’ outcomes have to emerge in process? Ifany of these questions ring a bell with you, then you may find whatfollows to be useful.LINES AND CIRCLES AS PLANNING METAPHORSSome scientific thought distinguishes no difference between aline and a circle. This is supported by the idea that if you makethe line long enough, it ultimately becomes a circle. Senge assertsthat, ‘‘Reality is made up of circles but we see straight lines’’ (1990,p. 71). In this book we are concerned with lines and circles and whatthey have to do with how one thinks about and does programplanning.Metaphorically, lines and circles conjure up different images.Being linear includes moving in a concerted direction: upward,downward, backward, forward, or sideways. Circles also havedirectionality, but they go round and round, reconnecting “

“Now hold your breath a moment because we are going to takeyou on a brief but complicated historical journey. When you comeup for air we hope you have a deeper understanding of how linesbecame privileged over circles. You will see differences between aline and a circle when it comes to planning, the costs and benefits ofdeduction and induction, and rational and nonrational thought.This will also lead to distinguishing differences between nonra-tional andirrational thoughtapproaches and identification of whenrational or nonrational approaches to problem-solving will bestserve your needs. If there is bias in our presentation, it is that bothrational and nonrational approaches need to be privileged in orderto skillfully plan quality programs.A Brief History of Lines and CirclesScience and ReasonAs early as the 1700s, debates raged about human nature and thedevelopment of knowledge. Philosophers known asContinentalRationaliststook the position that what is known about nature couldbe reasoned by using one’s intelligence, while other philosophers,British Empiricists, took the position that knowledge about theenvironment came from experience, or sense data. Philosopherssuch as Locke, Berkley, and Hume struggled with ideas about whatconstituted science. Was it based on physics and mathematics, ordid the true basis of scientific knowledge rest on empirical verifi-cation rather than personal experience?At the turn of the twentieth century, the Vienna Circle compos-ed of scientific thinkers like Schlick, Hahn, Carnap, Ayers, andWittgenstein extended the thinking of the early empiricists ininfluencing the development oflogical empiricismandlogical positiv-ism. Logical empiricism asserted that the true basis of knowledgerests in empirical or evidence-based verification rather than on”

“personal experience. The Logical Positivists believed that the task ofscience is to clarify basic concepts, rejecting the abstractions ofmetaphysics and meaning in favor of findings grounded on empiri-cal evidence. Keys to this position are familiar aspects of thenaturalsciences: logic, methodology, and validation procedures.Thanks to Comte and other Positivists active in the nineteenthand the early twentieth centuries, these methods were transferredalmost without question (for an exception, see the life work of KarlPopper) and applied to human agency, later known as social sci-ence. It was Comte inThe Positive Philosophy(1855, trans 1974)who first coined the term ‘‘sociology’’ and saw it as being the mostcomplex of sciences, a naturalistic one that can both explain the pastdevelopment of humankind and predict its future course. With this,the application of positivist ideals to social phenomena was almostcomplete. The belief that all true human knowledge is containedwithin the boundaries of science became the accepted norm inWestern thought. Humanity was to be studied in the same scientificmanner as the world of nature, through observations, developmentof hypotheses, and experimentation.Induction, defined as making inferences of a generalized naturefrom particular instances, became the preferred method of consol-idating the observational link between science and reality, not onlyfor the natural, but also for the social sciences. This is in contrast todeduction, a method by which knowledge, inductively generated,is applied to situations not yet observed. Induction, going from thegeneral to the specific, became preferred over deduction, goingfrom the specific to the general.Embedded in this philosophy about what constitutes science, in-cluding the study of human nature, is the assumption of the role ofreasonin human behavior and human understanding. For the mostpart, the Empiricists and Positivists were also Rationalists who,according to Fay (1996) explain human actions by providing the”

“personal experience. The Logical Positivists believed that the task ofscience is to clarify basic concepts, rejecting the abstractions ofmetaphysics and meaning in favor of findings grounded on empiri-cal evidence. Keys to this position are familiar aspects of thenaturalsciences: logic, methodology, and validation procedures.Thanks to Comte and other Positivists active in the nineteenthand the early twentieth centuries, these methods were transferredalmost without question (for an exception, see the life work of KarlPopper) and applied to human agency, later known as social sci-ence. It was Comte inThe Positive Philosophy(1855, trans 1974)who first coined the term ‘‘sociology’’ and saw it as being the mostcomplex of sciences, a naturalistic one that can both explain the pastdevelopment of humankind and predict its future course. With this,the application of positivist ideals to social phenomena was almostcomplete. The belief that all true human knowledge is containedwithin the boundaries of science became the accepted norm inWestern thought. Humanity was to be studied in the same scientificmanner as the world of nature, through observations, developmentof hypotheses, and experimentation.Induction, defined as making inferences of a generalized naturefrom particular instances, became the preferred method of consol-idating the observational link between science and reality, not onlyfor the natural, but also for the social sciences. This is in contrast todeduction, a method by which knowledge, inductively generated,is applied to situations not yet observed. Induction, going from thegeneral to the specific, became preferred over deduction, goingfrom the specific to the general.Embedded in this philosophy about what constitutes science, in-cluding the study of human nature, is the assumption of the role ofreasonin human behavior and human understanding. For the mostpart, the Empiricists and Positivists were also Rationalists who,according to Fay (1996) explain human actions by providing the”

“The modern approach to positivism, includingPost-Positivists,tends to berealist, determinist,andnomothetic,or attending to therule-governed nature of reality. Positivism seeks to provide rationalexplanations of social affairs. While being pragmatic and problem-oriented, it continues to apply the reason, models, and methods ofthe natural sciences to the social sciences out of an assumption thatthe social works, like the natural works. Both are seen as composedof relatively concrete empirical facts and relationships that can beidentified (Burrell & Morgan, 1979). Once identified, these facts orartifacts can be studied and measured through reductionisticapproaches, providing aneticor outsider’s/expert’s perspective.For positivists, a more linear reasoning would be most appropriateto accomplish their goals.In contrast, the interpretive approach seeks understanding,rather than description orgeneralization(Imre, 1991; Tyson, 1995).Systematic inquiry is used to develop rich understandings of asituation. Mainstream, objective, controlled, or experimental quan-titative methods are not preferred, as they are unsuited for deeplyprobing into sociobehavioral phenomena. Objective social realityis rejected in favor of deep, contextualized understandings fromthe participants’ or actors’emic,or insiders’ points of view. Inter-pretivist approaches to knowledge building are acknowledgedto be a mix of the rational, serendipitous, and intuitive—allowingmany learning opportunities in the effort to understand. This per-spective assumes that while producing accurate but not objective (inthe positivistic sense) information, processes and products can bewarm, full, and artistic with meaning for both the planner and theuser (consumer) communities.Operatingfromaninterpretiveperspective asserts that the world, asit is, can be understood, but that understanding happens at the level ofsubjective experience. Individual consciousness andsubjectivityarebasic to understanding (Dilthey,1976; Polanyi, 1958), and reality “

“The modern approach to positivism, includingPost-Positivists,tends to berealist, determinist,andnomothetic,or attending to therule-governed nature of reality. Positivism seeks to provide rationalexplanations of social affairs. While being pragmatic and problem-oriented, it continues to apply the reason, models, and methods ofthe natural sciences to the social sciences out of an assumption thatthe social works, like the natural works. Both are seen as composedof relatively concrete empirical facts and relationships that can beidentified (Burrell & Morgan, 1979). Once identified, these facts orartifacts can be studied and measured through reductionisticapproaches, providing aneticor outsider’s/expert’s perspective.For positivists, a more linear reasoning would be most appropriateto accomplish their goals.In contrast, the interpretive approach seeks understanding,rather than description orgeneralization(Imre, 1991; Tyson, 1995).Systematic inquiry is used to develop rich understandings of asituation. Mainstream, objective, controlled, or experimental quan-titative methods are not preferred, as they are unsuited for deeplyprobing into sociobehavioral phenomena. Objective social realityis rejected in favor of deep, contextualized understandings fromthe participants’ or actors’emic,or insiders’ points of view. Inter-pretivist approaches to knowledge building are acknowledgedto be a mix of the rational, serendipitous, and intuitive—allowingmany learning opportunities in the effort to understand. This per-spective assumes that while producing accurate but not objective (inthe positivistic sense) information, processes and products can bewarm, full, and artistic with meaning for both the planner and theuser (consumer) communities.Operatingfromaninterpretiveperspective asserts that the world, asit is, can be understood, but that understanding happens at the level ofsubjective experience. Individual consciousness andsubjectivityarebasic to understanding (Dilthey,1976; Polanyi, 1958), and reality “

“In terms of the program planning process in the foundation-funded medical case management project described earlier in thischapter, the issues are no different. Differing assumptions werepresent in varying ways of problem-solving, based on differentassumptions in each project about reality orTruth. The foundationembraced the objectives in the proposals submitted by each of theeight sites as ‘‘Truth,’’ and whatever outcomes were developedbecame the only outcomes to be pursued. Such linear, rational think-ing is more congruent with the positivist position. The sites, on theother hand, experienced the need for engaging in circular, non-rational thinking, which is more congruent with interpretiveapproaches. This does not mean they would not have eventuallycome up with new outcomes and different plans, but they needed theflexibility to take what was learned in process and mull it over (spintheir wheels) until new, feasible, context-based directions emerged.However, due to the positivist/interpretivist science competition,these alternative approaches to rational thinking are rarely discussedor recognized as legitimate for program planning, and the founda-tion was not open to entertaining them. Thus, the various partici-pants in this large multisite project felt they were not using theirenergies well when they were not able to move forward in a linearway. In actuality, we think this was productive planning. It was justdifferent from the dominant view of how planning should occur.Rational and Nonrational ThoughtA basic premise for this chapter is the existence and use in problem-solving of both linear and circular thinking, both of which can beimportant to the planning process.To understand how both rationaland nonrational thought serve the planning process, it is important tounderstand the basic premises of each. It should not be surprising tosee that rational thought is congruentwith the positivistic assumptionthat there exists a single, immutabletruththatcanbediscovered”

“Based on this, rational thought extends to include the idea thatmost decisions can be made throughaseriesofwell-definedstepsthat follow a predictable or fixed linear sequence, moving toward apredetermined goal. Decisions are made through a reductionisticassessment of the most benefit for the least cost. The decisions con-form to objective and determinant rules to forecast costs and benefitsafter completing assessment of alternatives, including their positiveand negative consequences. Linearreason helps to make appropriateselections among alternatives geared to minimizing objections whilemaximizing benefits. A comparison of rational and nonrational think-ingisprovidedinTable1.1.Table 1.1Rational/Nonrational: Comparison of Thought Processes for PlanningRationalNonrationalSingle truthMultiple, competing truthsThoughts constructed throughseries of well-defined stepsThoughts must include multipleunderstandingsSteps follow fixed sequenceNo fixed sequence of analytic stepsProcess linearProcess nonlinearBased on market (biggest bangfor the buck)Based on power and politicsMost benefit, least costContext is everythingDecisions based on objectivityand determinant rulesDecisions based on influenceGoal: prediction based onobjectives, alternatives,consequencesGoal: getting what is ‘‘good’’ andavoiding what is ‘‘bad’’Decisions from selectingalternatives and minimizingobjectionsMaking sense of paradox and politicsReason as the basic building blockReasoning by metaphor and analogyDecisions made with assumptionsof precision and linearityDecisions made with clarity and reason,but more fluid and circularAdapted from Fauri, Netting & O’Connor, 2005, p. 105.”

“using rational planning, regardless of the ontological, epistemolog-ical, and linguistic assumptions undergirding thought patternswithin the environmental or organizational contexts in which plan-ning occurs. This would create challenges for culturally relevantand technologically appropriate programming worldwide. It isour suspicion that even when there is a high degree of positivis-tic influence, nonrational approaches to problem-solving anddecision-making are enacted in secret, with a sense that they arenot quite legitimate. This is what happened when the eight healthcare sites in our earlier example did one thing, but pretended to bedoing another.Rational and Nonrational Problem-Solving and Decision-MakingMost existing decision-making and planning approaches are basedon rational models (see, e.g., Kettner, Moroney & Martin, 1999;Netting, Kettner, & McMurtry, 2008; Pawlak & Vinter, 2004). It isas if the only way to problem-solve is to do so rationally with apredetermined goal in mind. However, rational problem-solvingis not without critique. For example, Hasenfeld (2000) sees therational model as ‘‘theoretically weak and empirically untenable’’(p. 92). His position recognizes the uniqueness and complexities oforganizational situations in the face of the multitudes of goals,agendas, and problem-solving and service technologies. Thisunderstanding of organizational realities makes the reduction nec-essary for successful rational planning all but impossible.The nonrational approach to decision-making makes that reduc-tion unnecessary. The logic of this problem-solving process is not somuch nonlinear as it is circular, allowing for the consideration ofeven the most tangential aspects. Knowledge will include multipleunderstandings reached through no fixed sequence of steps. If theprocess were to be characterized, it would look like the child’s toyknown as a Slinky, with its energy moving back and forth through”

“using rational planning, regardless of the ontological, epistemolog-ical, and linguistic assumptions undergirding thought patternswithin the environmental or organizational contexts in which plan-ning occurs. This would create challenges for culturally relevantand technologically appropriate programming worldwide. It isour suspicion that even when there is a high degree of positivis-tic influence, nonrational approaches to problem-solving anddecision-making are enacted in secret, with a sense that they arenot quite legitimate. This is what happened when the eight healthcare sites in our earlier example did one thing, but pretended to bedoing another.Rational and Nonrational Problem-Solving and Decision-MakingMost existing decision-making and planning approaches are basedon rational models (see, e.g., Kettner, Moroney & Martin, 1999;Netting, Kettner, & McMurtry, 2008; Pawlak & Vinter, 2004). It isas if the only way to problem-solve is to do so rationally with apredetermined goal in mind. However, rational problem-solvingis not without critique. For example, Hasenfeld (2000) sees therational model as ‘‘theoretically weak and empirically untenable’’(p. 92). His position recognizes the uniqueness and complexities oforganizational situations in the face of the multitudes of goals,agendas, and problem-solving and service technologies. Thisunderstanding of organizational realities makes the reduction nec-essary for successful rational planning all but impossible.The nonrational approach to decision-making makes that reduc-tion unnecessary. The logic of this problem-solving process is not somuch nonlinear as it is circular, allowing for the consideration ofeven the most tangential aspects. Knowledge will include multipleunderstandings reached through no fixed sequence of steps. If theprocess were to be characterized, it would look like the child’s toyknown as a Slinky, with its energy moving back and forth through”

“problem-solving process. Similarly, Pawlak and Vinter (2004) dis-cuss service program planning as, ‘‘essentially arationaldecisionand an activity process carried out in successive stages of work.Planning is rational in that it is means-ends-driven process’’ (p. 11).The synoptic planning tradition is particularly relevant to publiclymandated programs that have explicit regulations and guidelinesattached to them. These programs must be carried out to the letter,or they will not be continued. A rational process fits well with thistype of programming. In light of our previous discussion, it shouldbe obvious that synoptic, or rational, planning has a distinguishedhistory.The other planning theories in Hudson’s comparison (incre-mental, advocacy, transactive, and radical) developed in reactionto what was seen as limits to the synoptic tradition. One can quic-kly see how this would happen, given the differences betweenrational and nonrational thought. As we investigate their respec-tive underlying assumptions, you will see clues to program plan-ning differences. It is within these theoretical perspectives onplanning that the possibilities of alternative approaches to plan-ning are grounded.Incremental theoretical approaches involve compromises be-tween competing groups in which the ‘‘most politically expedientpolicy rather than the best plan is adopted and implemented’’(Hardina, 2003, p. 256). Incremental planning fits well with plan-ning pilot or demonstration projects because of its short-termnature. For example, a common strategy used by persons with newideas is to develop a pilot project instead of creating a fully con-ceptualized program. Why? Because if the idea behind the project iscontroversial at all, there is a good chance that decision-makers willagree to support a temporary pilot project, whereas they would noteven consider a long-term commitment to a program. This allowsthe project to demonstrate its worth and buys time for the initiators” “problem-solving process. Similarly, Pawlak and Vinter (2004) dis-cuss service program planning as, ‘‘essentially arationaldecisionand an activity process carried out in successive stages of work.Planning is rational in that it is means-ends-driven process’’ (p. 11).The synoptic planning tradition is particularly relevant to publiclymandated programs that have explicit regulations and guidelinesattached to them. These programs must be carried out to the letter,or they will not be continued. A rational process fits well with thistype of programming. In light of our previous discussion, it shouldbe obvious that synoptic, or rational, planning has a distinguishedhistory.The other planning theories in Hudson’s comparison (incre-mental, advocacy, transactive, and radical) developed in reactionto what was seen as limits to the synoptic tradition. One can quic-kly see how this would happen, given the differences …

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