ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”



Political Research Exchange - PRX

Clear Enough to be Proven Wrong? The Theoretical Foundation of the Multiple Streams-Framework

Presenter
Johanna Kuhlmann
Universität Bremen
Authors
Johanna Kuhlmann
Universität Bremen

Abstract
The paper focuses on the theoretical foundation of the multiple streams-framework and reveals that, in its basic assumptions, it is theoretically misconceived: Among policy analysis scholars, there is a widespread belief that the multiple streams-framework is deeply rooted within Herbert Simon’s concept of bounded rationality. However, a comparison of the concept of bounded rationality with the multiple streams-framework shows that the actual influence of the former on the latter is rather poor: According to Simon, the individual’s bounded rationality is an independent variable that explains processes and structures within the organization. The multiple streams-framework also acts on the assumption of bounded rational individuals, but enhances time over rationality and can therefore only make a statement about the determining factors and not about the actual basis of the individual’s decisions. Besides, the individual is not the initial point of analysis as the multiple streams-framework theorizes from the macro-level. Moreover, the connection between the individual and the organization is different: In the concept of bounded rationality, the organization compensates individual deficits, while the organization within the multiple streams-framework increases them. This is also caused by different ontological premises complicating falsifiability and causality in the multiple streams-framework. Regarding further theoretical development, the analysis reveals that the micro-theoretical assumptions of the approach need to be revised.
Share this page