Network Targets

… a core concept used in Implementation and Delivery and Atlas107

Concept description

Leslie Pal (reference below) defines network targets as primarily groups and individuals in civil society, outside the state.

Pal describes (p. 169) their importance in implementation in a world where:

“The role of government is to facilitate and empower rather than to deliver and direct. Adjustment programs, capacity building, the dissemination of information, participation and partnerships, rights enforcement, funding of interest groups, and development of stakeholder networks – all of these make sense only if organizations and individuals are granted high levels of autonomy and legitimacy as policy actors in their own right, not merely as recipients of government programs. As McDonnell and Elmore (1987) argued, policy instruments in this category have the character of “inducements” rather than mandates and hinge on “how much variation policymakers are willing to tolerate in the production of things of value” (p. 15). If individuals, organizations, and communities are to have choice and autonomy, then the tolerance for variation has to increase substantially. Framework policy, decentralization, and information policy instruments clearly presume that policy outcomes will depend on a degree of “co-production” with other actors. Of course, co-production also means a greater degree of mutual interdependence – governments cannot control all processes and outcomes. Therefore, this approach requires a greater tolerance for potential failure and the possibility that partners will both make mistakes and have to learn from them. It puts the policy designer less in the position of being an “engineer” than an “animateur,” relying primarily on process values and politics (Linder & Peters, 1995).”

See also: Pal’s Classification of Policy Instruments.

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Implementing through Partners and Networks (core topic) in Implementation and Delivery and Atlas107.


Leslie Pal (2014), Beyond Policy Analysis – Public Issue Management in Turbulent Times, Fifth Edition, Nelson Education, Toronto. See Beyond Policy Analysis – Book Highlights.

Linder, S. H., & Peters, B. G. (1995). The two traditions of institutional designing: Dialogue versus decision? In D. L. Weimer (Ed.), Institutional design (pp. 133–160). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer.

McDonnell, L. M., & Elmore, R. F. (1987). Alternative policy instruments. Santa Monica, CA: Center for Policy Research in Education.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 3 April 2017.

Image: Kumu Blog, at, accessed 3 April 2017.