Periodicity.: January - March 2016
e-ISSN......: 2236-269X



Mohammad Ali Haghighi
Faculty member of Shahid Beheshti University, Iran


Gholam Ali Tabarsa

Faculty member of Shahid Beheshti University, Iran


Hamid Reza Ghasemi
Tarbiat Modarres University, Iran


Rouhollah Bagheri

Shahid Beheshti (National) University, Iran


Shahab Talaie Shokri (Corresponding Author)
Hekmat Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Iran



Submission: 01/10/2015

Revision: 02/10/2015

Accept: 14/10/2015


Public policies are problem-oriented and solve a public problem. The mere act of making decisions and policies will not solve problems; rather policies must also be executed effectively. As executing policies is a crucial step in policy making, formulating indicators for policy implementation is an absolute necessity. In this article, we conducted a content analysis of elites’ opinions to improve implementation of public policies. Therefore, three major factors were identified including factors involved in policy making, environment of policy implementation, and organizational structure. Sample data were taken from agricultural organizations of Tehran and Qom. For data gathering purposes, library research, interviews and questionnaires were used. To analyze the data, k-s, Pearson’s correlation coefficient, confirmatory factors analysis and means comparisons were applied using SPSS and LISREL. Results show that all of proposed indicators and measures are valid for implementation of public policies. Regarding the importance of indicators between the two participant groups, indicators in Tehran groups proved to be more important.

Key words: policy, policy making, policy implementation, agricultural sector

1.            INTRODUCTION

            Policy making sciences have two basic aspects which are closely related to politics in their own way. The first aspect related to political sciences is power study. The second aspect related to public management includes management techniques and decision making techniques (MILANI, 2011, 46).

            After codification, ratification and signification of policies, in order to execute policies, a number of actions are to be taken. A large number of rules, regulations, programs and plans should be prepared, ratified and signified to be executed by managing lines of systems and policies. Idealistic policies will raise organizations’ hope for the future if adherence to principle is taken into their consideration in all cases by program codification managers.

            If policies are to be left on paper and not implemented, a fruitful future cannot be assured. The administration and execution of policies should be carried out in a coordinated and correlative manner. The indexes required to implement policies seem to have received little attention. Generally, there are no codified indexes to depict the execution of policies and each organization applies indexes in accordance to their own goal.

            Concerning the individuality of criteria for selecting indexes, i.e. trustworthiness, appropriateness, validity, availability, and sensitivity, it is necessary to apply indexes as a unified language in presenting comparative and operational reports and, consequently, in execution, assessment, decision making, and mission and activity management.

            One of the fields in which the aforesaid point is strongly felt is agriculture. The main reason why agriculture came to mankind’s notice has been to fulfill their requirements. The most ancient civilization appeared where agricultural activities were possible geographically and ecologically. As a matter of fact, other economic fields have appeared gradually according to agricultural requirements (TEHRAN CHAIN, 2007).

            Also, in Imam Khomeini and the Supreme Leader’s viewpoint, agriculture is of utmost importance to the country’s economy. As for the codification of general policies of the government, he says: “Concern for rebuilding industrial centers should not impede attaining agricultural self-sufficiency, rather, the priority of this matter should be preserved and officials are required to take responsibility for its execution more than before. Certainly, self-sufficiency in agriculture is the gateway to freedom and to self-sufficiency in other domains” (IMAM KHOMEINI; JAMARAN, 1988).

            Also, the starring role of agriculture can be easily traced in the Supreme Leader’s economic thinking. In order to draw public and official attention to agriculture, he has made such statements as: “pure life and new civilization are in close connection with the availability of resources and the prosperity of agriculture (THE SUPREME LEADER, 2004), agriculture should be of concern to senior administration officials and people (THE SUPREME LEADER, 2001) investment in agriculture is an important solution for job creation” (THE SUPREME LEADER, 2009).

            Concerning the aforementioned importance attached to agriculture, it seems that public policies of this field are afflicted with poor execution. Thus, the present essay aims to take steps forward through codification of indexes of policy execution based on agricultural literature and the views of Qom and Tehran Agricultural Organization experts.

2.            THEORIES

            Since the appearance of the science of public policy, political studies have been limited to normative and moral fields of governments and political institutions. By studying the works of great Western philosophers, scholars developed and explored topics such as the nature of society, government’s role, government and citizen rights and liabilities (GHOLIPURE; AHANGAR, 2010, 4).

            Public policies are the free distribution of public interests. The topics of public policy are the consequences of public events related to public interests (LIANG ZHIMING, 2011, 2478). Taras believes that public policy studies problems of common or particular features which, however, cause public worries and are irritating (TARAS, 2007, 568).

            Effective reinforcement of public policies requires governments’ rational justice and practical planning (LIANG ZHIMING, 2011, 2478). From Islam’s viewpoint, public policy is a type of guidance of a political society based on Islamic principles and values and is carried out by qualified persons to further the society’s interests (AMID ZANJANI, 1995, 10).

            Generally, the process of public policy making can be presented through six phases: 1. identifying public problems, 2. finding alternative solutions (policies), 3. predicting consequences, 4. selecting a favorable policy, 5. legitimating policy, and 6. execution & evaluation of policy (ALVANI, 2001, 40).

2.1.        Execution as the gravity center of policies  

            In a standard dictionary, the term “execution” is defined as accomplishing a work based on a particular plan or method (GHOLIPURE, 2008, 193). In table 1, a number of theories concerning execution are presented.

Table 1: Execution theoreticians and the presented theories



Theory interpretation

Pressman & Wildavsky


Execution is a part of the process of policy making. It is an interactive  process between what policy maker wants and the procedures to accomplish it.



 Based on the metaphor, play field, different kinds of bargaining and negotiation.



Executive structure as an analysis unit

Mezmanian & Sabtyre


Designing a conceptual framework for execution analysis and effective execution conditions.

Clista & Elmor


Execution as an  institutional concept and the representation of a four-layer model, the organizational models of social plans execution, the introduction of two approaches, top- down and bottom-up execution analysis.



The presentation of two approaches, top down and bottom up, a synthetic approach to effective execution analysis.



 A well-thought-out and orderly collection  of some  sort of activities

Krut & Wayshow


Making policies subject to practice.



The process of changing direction of goals related to a policy



Careful, serious, determined practice

Chu hyu lee


Public interests or the majority interests.


            Before the term “execution” was coined the importance of the execution of public policy was ignored. Ultimately, Pressman and Wildavsky conducted a research to fill the gap of execution in their study of public policy. However, as James Slack says, research on the execution of public policy did not evolve very much from the mid 1980s to the first decade of twenty first century (SLACK, 2005,3).

            Different definitions of execution have been presented by different researchers. Krutwaysho, in his definition of public policy execution, quoted Lester & Sterwart saying that: Simply, execution is making policies subject to practice (HAFIZ KHALID, 2005, 88).

            In another definition, the execution of public policies is defined as a careful, serious, determined practice which is in coordination with the decision making group (LIANG ZHIMING, 2011, 2476).

            Also, in recent years, change in governments’ structure and the formation of democratic governments culminated in enhancing public interests in the social relationship between the government, the private sector, and the society (CHUI-HUA  LIU,  2011,  414).

            The most complicated problem of execution is that, having made the decision for activity execution, it should be done in a way that there would be a rational similarity with what is decided on and that it would operate well in its framework (ALVANI; SHARIFZADE, 2009, 107). 

            Regarding policy execution, different models and approaches have been presented that we are going to mention in brief. Lester and Sterwart  identified two approaches for execution: control and ordering approach and economic motives or market approach (KRUTWAYSHO, 2003).

            Also, in the most recognized analytical framework of policy execution analysis, executive approaches are classified as top-down approaches such as Mazmanian and Sabatier (1983), and bottom-up approaches such as Elmor’s research, and synthetic approaches such as Majun and Wildavsky’s research.

            In another classification of policy execution approaches, we can name classic and neoclassic approaches (PEYKANI, 2009, 50). Samuel R. Staley believes that effective factors of successful execution of policies are as follow: clarifying the measurement tools of policies, codifying standards and identical indexes, avoiding forcing the use of technology or specific approaches for policy execution, employing encouraging approaches instead of imperative approaches, terminating ineffective policies, concern for citizens’ interests and preferences, involving local governments more than before (STALEY, 2006, 246). Also, Babrow claims that social and cultural factors, achieving cooperative relationships and active connections between people and groups are significant in the policy process (BABROW, 2006, 573, 579).

            Therefore, in order to determine the definitions of execution, initially, a definition of the index is required to determine the indexes of execution. Lexically, index is defined as high, ridged, elevated, diagram, representative, origin, base, road guide, something or someone among other people or things, outstanding. Other definitions of the index are as follow:

·        Index is a tool of representing the quality of execution or the extent of goal realization

·        Indexes determine the favorability level and expected points of a specific topic.

·        Indexes are quantitative and qualitative features employed in assessing inputs, processes, staff, and consequences.

·        Indexes are tools of assessing the extent of goal achievement and the accuracy of move in the specified direction (NEJAT; YAVARI, 2009, 130).  

            This research, due to its explanatory nature, is an applied research and researchers, apart from identifying the indexes of public policy execution, are trying to classify them. Since this research deals with the present situation, it is a descriptive research and since it studies individuals’ preferences through questionnaires, it is a survey.

            To identify the indexes of policy execution, content analysis method is used and experts’ views are applied which are presented in the form of a questionnaire. To analyze data, Kolmogroph-Smirnoph test is used to determine the normality of each variable and then Speerman’s correlative test is done on variables.

            Furthermore, for the purpose of the examination and assessment of the effective index in the execution of the public policies of Tehran and Qom Agricultural Organization, confirmatory factor analysis, from among factors identified from the literature and the theories, is applied to determine the meaningfulness and effectiveness of each index.

            The statistical population of this research includes the experts and managers of Tehran and Qome Agricultural Organization along with university professors of policy making. Sampling was used because of the broadness and the large number of individuals. Since the sampling framework was not clarified, snowball sampling method was used in the research (COOPER, 2003). Finally, the theoretical framework is presented in table 2.

Table 2: theoretical framework





Clear & real goal–setting (STEELMAN,1996)

Standards & Goals

Factors arising from policy making

Factors affecting the execution of public policies

Distinct standards

Rationality in policy codification (SAGHAFI,1999)

The Accuracy of policy theories

Effectiveness of policies

The relevance of policies to goals

Information flow monitoring by politicians (STEELMAN, 1996)

to policy making

Execution of play regulations by politicians (STEELMAN, 1996)

Application of appropriate techniques & strategies (STEELMAN, 1996)

A small gap between ratification and execution (PALMBO; CALISTA, 1990)

Dynamisms (YANOW,1990)

Collective consensus & agreement on the execution of determined policy

Dynamisms (YANOW, 1990)

Defeating crisis and uncertain conditions (STEELMAN,1996)


and unpredictable


Factors arising  from policy making environment an its execution

Work place safety & health

Natural, organizational, social crisis

Financial resources & Facilities (STEELMAN, 1996; ALVANY; GHASEMY, 1998)


Time & Resources

Finance & manpower (MIRSALIM, 2001)

Executive facilities (MIRSALIM, 2001)

The effectiveness of public thoughts (GHAFURY; KAMALI, 2010)

Public support

National will (public communion) (MIRSALIM,1380)

Principles & beliefs

Compatibility of policies with social norms & values

Correspondence between work requirements, values and behaviors

Correspondence with social customs

Proper informative technology (PORTZ, 2005)




Computer & Electronic government

Fax & Email

Efficient Executives (administrators) (ALVANI; GHASEMI, 1998)





Factors arising from organizational structure


Individual experts with  executive knowledge (HAFEZ KHALID, 2008; YANO, 1990)

Relative freedom in executive principles        .

The motive of executive  principles (ACHUFIELD, 2004)

Administrators’ tendencies & preferences (STEELMAN, 1996)

The structures of project teams (YANO, 1990)

Distinct responsibilities (PORTZ, 2005)

distinctive liabilities& responsibilities of the private sector

Responsibilities based on rules & regulations

Distinctive job description & conditions of job taking

Inter-organizational & executive operation communications (STEELMAN, 1996)


Network management (PORTZ, 2005)

The use of the media (PORTZ, 2005)

Appropriate financial incentives & penalties (PORTZ, 2005)

Operation assessment system

Operation report (formal & informal)

Possessing quick, total feedback

Gathering opinions from opinion bo

3.            DATA ANALYSIS

            Before conducting any statistical tests, it should be made clear whether the data were gathered from a normal population or not. Having examined the normality of each data, we do the respective hypothesis test concerning the normality or abnormality.

3.1.       The statistical test of Kolmogrogh-Smirnogh is presented in the following way:

·        The data are normal (the data are not from a normal population):

·        The data are not normal (the data are from a normal population):

            If the quantity of the meaningful level is small (smaller than error amount (0.05), hypothesis zero, that is the normality hypothesis, is rejected; otherwise, zero hypothesis is not rejected (HABIBPOUR; SAFARI, 2009).


Table 3: Kolmogragh-Smirnogh  one-sample test:

policy making


Executive structure

policy environment

Research variables




Number of samples








Kolmogragh-Smirnogh Z test




Mutual meaningfulness

            Based on diagram 3, all meaningfulness ratios are more than 0.05. So, zero  hypothesis (H( which is the normal distribution of the variables, is not rejected. All the 3 variables of the research are of normal distribution.

3.2.       Pearson’s correlation coefficients between research variables

Table 4:  Kronbach alpha coefficients and correlation matrix between hidden variables (sample amount = 96)

Kronbach alpha




Research variables





1. Policy environment




** 0.755

2. Executive structure




** 0.678

3. Policy making

            The meaningfulness level of correlation coefficient of research variables **p<0.01    *p<0.05

            Table 4 shows correlation coefficients matrix between hidden variables. The last column shows Kronbach alpha coefficients of variables indicating that all the variables are higher than the accepted minimum amount (0.7) and also representing the stability and validity of measurement tools.

            Also, Kronbach alpha coefficient of the whole questionnaire is 0.926 showing the proper stability of the questionnaire. Other numbers are the correlative coefficients between the variables of the research. All of these coefficients are meaningful at 99 percent certainty level marked by (**) sign.

            The largest amount of correlative coefficients is between the two variables of policy environment and executive structure (0.755) showing the powerful, positive, meaningful connection between the two variables. In order to analyze the inner structure of the questionnaire and discovering the constituting elements of each variable, confirmatory factor analysis tools are applied.

            The confirmatory factor analysis of the variables of the research are presented in the following way. The abbreviations used in the confirmatory factor analysis are presented in table 5.

Table 5: Titles related to the variables in confirmatory factor diagram and structural equations

Factors arising from policy making













Factors arising from structural organization








Factors arising from policy making










            Generally, when working with Lizrel software, each of the indexes of the model is not a reason for the fitness or non-fitness of the model by itself, rather these indexes should be interpreted as a whole. Table 6 presents the most important of these indexes and shows that the model has a suitable condition for fit.

Table 6: the fit indexes of conceptual model


Proper limit

Less than 3


higher than 0.9


less than 0.08


higher than 0.9


higher than 0.9



3.3.       Confirmatory factor analysis and measurement equations related to policy making environment variable 

Figure 1: the confirmatory factor analysis model of policy making environment variable (The meaningfulness of coefficients)

            The fit index obtained from the confirmatory factor analysis) K on df   2.08، GFI=0.95  ، AGFI=0.93  ، CFI=0.97  ، NFI=0.98 and RMSEA=0.070) shows the proper fit of confirmatory factor analysis. Concerning the meaningfulness of the results of confirmatory factor analysis, all factor loads related to indexes are at 99 percent meaningful certainty level (all factor loads are out of +2 and -2 limit).

            Consequently, all the indexes described for the variables are of importance and are considered as indexes. By taking the standardized equations into consideration, it can be understood which index has the major role in the measurement of each dimension. For example, concerning the predictable events variable (Event), the index 2 (E2) (workplace safety & health) with the load factor 0.95 has the major role in its measurement. Also, index 3 (E3) (natural, organizational, social crisis) with the load factor  0.28, has the minor role in measuring the predictable events variable.

            Confirmatory factor analysis and measurement equations related to the policy making variable.

Figure 2: the confirmatory factor analysis model of policy making variable
(meaningfulness of coefficients)

            The fit index obtained from the confirmatory factor analysis (K on df 2.97 , GFI=0.94, AGFI=0.91, CFI=0.96, NFI=0.9, and RMSEA=0.038) shows the proper fit of confirmatory factor analysis. Concerning the meaningfulness of the results of confirmatory factor analysis, all factor loads related with indexes are at 99 percent meaningful certainty level (all factor loads are out of +2 and -2 limit).  Consequently, all the indexes described for the variables are of importance and are considered as indexes.

            Confirmatory factor analysis and measurement equations related to the organizational structure variable.

Figure 3: confirmatory factor analysis model of the organizational structure variable (Meaningfulness of coefficients)

            The fit index obtained from the confirmatory factor analysis (K on df 2.68, GFI=0.98, AGFI=0.95, CFI=0.97, NFI=0.96, and RMSEA=0.057) shows the proper fit of confirmatory factor analysis. Concerning the meaningfulness of the results of confirmatory factor analysis, all factor loads related to indexes are at 99 percent meaningful certainty level (all factor loads are out of +2 and -2 limit). Consequently, all the indexes described for the variables are of importance and are considered as indexes.








3.4.        The second confirmatory factor analysis of the research model

Figure 4: confirmatory factor analysis of the policy making variable (standard)

Figure 5: confirmatory factor analysis model of the policy making variable
(meaningfulness of coefficients)

            The fit index obtained from the second confirmatory factor analysis (K on free dimension 33/2, GFI=0.99, AGFI=0.97, CFI=0.98, NFI=0.97, RMSEA=0.067) shows the proper fit of confirmatory factor analysis. Concerning the meaningfulness of the results of confirmatory factor analysis, all factor loads related to indexes are at 99 percent meaningful certainty level (all factor loads are out of +2 and -2 limit). Consequently, all the indexes described for the variables are of importance and are considered as indexes.

            In respect of the factor loads (standard coefficients) obtained from the second confirmatory factor analysis (Table 7-10), we are to prioritize the indexes and effective factors of policy making and execution by the Tehran and Qom Agricultural Organization.

Table 7: Prioritization of factors arising from policy making environment and its execution


Factor load

















Meaningfulness level of factor loads 

Table 8: Prioritization of factors arising from policy making


Factor load














Meaningfulness level of factor loads

Table 9: Prioritization of factors arising from organizational structure


Factor load











Meaningfulness level of factor loads

Table 10: Prioritization of effective factors in public policy execution

 index (factor)

Factor load

priority (grade)

Factors due to policy making environment



Factors due to policy making



Factors due to organizational structure



Meaningfulness level of factor loads

            Also, in order to assess the importance of public policy execution indexes of Tehran and Qom Agricultural Organization, the averages of the research variables between Tehran and Qom respondent groups were compared. The results of the comparison are presented below.

3.5.       Policy making environment variable

·         The averages of variable amounts of policy making environment are not equal in the two groups.

·         The averages of variable amounts of policy making environment are equal in the two groups.

·         In order to analyze data, a test of comparison was done on the average of the whole grades of policy making environment between the two respondent groups of Tehran (1) and Qom(2)

·         The results of these computations presented through SPSS software output are given in table 11.

Table 11: Groups statistics

Test variable

Sample group



Criterion deviation

Policy making environment









            Table 11 describes the statistics in respect of the two respondent groups in which the number of data and descriptive statistics of policy making environment variable in respect of the two groups are presented individually.

Table 12: the result of the average comparison test of the two populations





Levin test for equality of ariances

T test for the equality of averages

F statistics


T statistics



of  averages

95% certainty distance of variances

Low limit

High limit

Policy making environment

equality of variances

Non-equality of variances























            Table 12 presents the results of the test and has two parts: the first part deals with the equality test of the variance of the two populations and the second part presents the equality of the average of the two populations in both cases as well as the equality and non-equality of variances.

            The statistical hypothesis of the equality of variance test of the two populations (levin) test is as follows:

            The variance of the two populations (Tehran & Qom) are different.

            The variance of the two populations (Tehran & Qom) are the same.         

            The meaningfulness related to Levin test is equal to 0.397 and higher than 5% meaningful level. Thus, the equality hypothesis of variances is not rejected. Therefore, we examine the data of the first line for the sake of a conclusion in respect of the average. The average equality test is meaningful in case of the equality of a variance less than 5%. As a result,