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The bottom-up approach thus creates ambiguous goals.Bottom-uppers are at times guilty of two criticisms.The top-down system showcases: (1) clear and consistent goals—articulated at the top of the hierarchical environment, (2) knowledge of pertinent cause and effects, (3) clear hierarchy of authority, (4) rules established at the top and policy is aligned with the rules, (5) resources / capacity to carry our the commands from the top (Elder, 2011, lecture).
On the other hand, a regulator using the bottom-up approach in Chicago may overlook minor code violations for a bribe—since the mom and pop shop is out of code but is not a real threat to safety.
The bottom-up model is thus a challenge to administration due to the reality of delegated authority, to the discretion allowed to different agents, which invariably causes a measurable variance of goal achievement.
Discretion may be a very good thing, especially when it uses expertise of people impacted by the policy to increase the likelihood of success and approbation.
In bottom-up, one size doesn’t fit all cases, and so discretion may enable implementors to activate more useful practices or to ignore policy that will hamper the goal of the program.
Bottom-up designers begin their implementation strategy formation with the target groups and service deliverers, because they find that the target groups are the actual implementors of policy (Matland, 1995, 146).
Moreover, bottom-uppers contend that if local bureaucrats [implementors] are not allowed discretion in the implementation process with respect to local conditions, then the policy will “likely fail” (Matland, 1995, 148).Second, top-down implementors ignore or eliminate the political aspects of implementation (Matland, 1995).For instance, top-downers set clear goals for a policy, while the legislation “often requires ambiguous language and contradictory goals” in order to gain enough votes for passage (Matland, 1995, 147).First, street-level bureaucrats are usually not accountable to the people.In this case, the local agents may intentionally subvert the elected officials’ policy goals and engage personal sub goals (Matland, 1995, 150).Thus, a Weberian approach may be desirable in theory, but its practice may result in “policy failure” (Matland, 1995, 148).Finally, top-down implementors see the “statute framers as key actors,” however, local officials and people impacted by the policy could more reasonable be considered as the key independent variable of analysis.For example, Matland discussed Hjern’s findings that central initiatives poorly adapted to local conditions failed, and, that success depended greatly on the local implementer’s ability to adapt to local conditions (Ibid).Discretion by agents is the underlying premise of the bottom-up approach (Elder, Lecture, 2011).Overtime, it was these lawsuits that adjusted the rule-of-law, not the local implementors.De Leon and De Leon (2001) find that bottom-uppers are more likely to be reflective of community interests, while top-downers are more likely to impose policy narrowly upon focused interest groups (478).