As developing nations continue to grapple with the daunting challenge of making the public sector efficient and effective, the academic discourse has positioned sound public policy as a prerequisite for good governance and development. This article interrogates the assumption that, decision-making and policy analysis in the public sector realm can be ‘rational’, against the inherent messiness of politics in the developing world. The article makes a critical literature synthesis and evaluates the practicality of the rational model of policy analysis, while drawing on the recent case experiences on governance and policy in Africa.
A thorough examination of the role of different conventional players in the policy
process is made, in respect of their capacities to rationalize policy outcomes. It is argued that analysing policy on the basis of substantive rationality and elements like, economic cost-benefit has been rather problematic owing to value systems that do not rekindle democratic orientation. The article concludes by giving highlights on the structural and institutional imperatives that can ameliorate public sector decision-making.