What is policy cycle in business

Policy cycle

Policy cycle

The political cycle is a model for structuring and understanding political events and processes.

It offers a possible form of dealing with politics that differs from a purely categorical or institutional approach.

The policy cycle describes four phases that follow one another: the problem definition, the discussion about possible solutions, the decision for a solution, the assessment of the solution that may lead to a new problem. It must be taken into account that the cycle is not "closed" in a specific process. The assessment does not lead to the same problem, but to a new one.

The policy cycle can be seen as a supplement to the policy dimensions policy, polity, politics. These dimensions are included in the cycle: the problem is more a question of the content (policy), in the discussion the dimension of the processes (politics) is more concerned, the decision is more tied to the dimension of the institutions (polity). Ultimately, however, all three dimensions are recognizable in all phases.

The policy cycle, like any model, reduces reality. Problems are only recorded once they have been incorporated into the political decision-making process. An analysis of the previous history can be just as important: How did the subject of the discussion become a problem that needs a solution?

The policy cycle is suitable not only for analyzing a process, but also for factual analysis (for which it was originally developed). A subject of political education can be systematically structured with the cycle:

  • What is the problem?
  • What is the dispute about? What are arguments and procedures?
  • What decisions are made?
  • How are the judgments of these decisions made? Do these lead to new problems?

The factual analysis of a political subject with the help of the policy cycle can be used to prepare lessons. This is linked to problem orientation, which as a method of political didactics aims to provide criteria for the selection of the subject.

The website politikycle.ch explains the legislation in Switzerland based on the asylum procedure.

Jan Hodel, FHNW University of Education