Dunn’s Four-stage Process of Communicating Policy-relevant Knowledge

… a core concept used in Implementation and Delivery and Atlas107

Concept description

Leslie Pal (reference below) describes Dunn’s four-stage process of communicating policy-relevant knowledge (p. 352):

“William Dunn’s influential text on policy analysis has a strong emphasis on the range of techniques available for everything from problem definition to recommendations (including cost-benefit analysis), time series analysis, and the structure of policy arguments … But … he also has a separate chapter on “communicating policy analysis” as well as four appendices on different communication vehicles (the policy issue paper, the executive summary, the policy memorandum, and oral briefings). Dunn (2004) argues that the communication of policy-relevant knowledge is a four-stage process consisting of policy analysis, materials development, interaction, and knowledge utilization, with the policy analyst at the centre of the cycle and supporting each stage, though only indirectly when it comes to knowledge utilization (pp. 430–431):

  1. Policy analysis: Policy problems, policy futures, policy outcomes, and policy performance.
  2. Materials development: Policy memoranda, policy issue papers, executive summaries, news releases. [Today we would include blogs, tweets, and Web pages.]
  3. Interactive communication: conversations, conferences, meetings, briefings, hearings. [Today we would include interactive Web chats, email, and SMS.]
  4. Knowledge utilization: Agenda-setting, policy formulation, policy adoption, policy implementation, policy assessment.
Atlas topic, subject, and course

Consulting and Communicating on Policy (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.

Dunn, W. N. (2004). Public policy analysis: An introduction. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice-Hall.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 8 April 2017.

Image: Google.ca page for Dunn’s book at https://books.google.ca/books?id=4fI5CgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false, accessed 8 April 2017.