Situational normativism and teaching of policy sciences
The increasing interest in policy sciences-the multidisciplinary activity concerned with decision-making for social problems-and the introduction of policy science programs in a number of leading universities has highlighted the need for teaching programs in the subject. Many graduate schools of business already apply the same blend of disciplines and techniques (Economics, Management, Behavioral Science, and Quantitative Methods) to resolve intra- and interorganizational choice dilemmas facing business. Schools of business, therefore, have the potential and capabilities to deal with the specific mission of policy sciences exemplified by such activities as policy analysis, policy strategies, policy systems design, and metapolicies. At the Graduate School of Business the authors have developed a descriptive-normative framework-situational normativism-which blends the component disciplines and methodologies of policy sciences towards solving real social and interorganizational decision problems. Situational normativism avoids the traditional sharp distinction between positive and normative theory by developing an adaptive methodology wherein the descriptive behavioral model serves as the input for normative analysis and the resulting prescriptive improved solution becomes the basis for predicting and evaluating future behavior of the system. The major part of this paper discusses a policy sciences core course, developed by the authors, in which the lecture material and a key learning aspect of the course-the self-organizing student team projects-have largely been developed in relation to the situational normativism framework. The course is described with references to team projects which serve to clarify the approach taken to teaching policy science. © 1971 American Elsevier Publishing Company, Inc.
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