Gen, Sheldon, & Amy Conley Wright (2018). Strategies of policy advocacy organizations and their theoretical affinities: Evidence from Q methodology. Policy Studies Journal, 46(2), 298-326.

Abstract: Policy advocacy is an increasingly important function for many nonprofit organizations, yet their advocacy activities have largely escaped theoretical grounding. The literature on nonprofits has described how they engage in policy advocacy, without linking them to theories of policy change. The policy studies literature, on the other hand, has explained how various forms of influence result in policy change, but has largely ignored organizational perspectives on those processes. These two literatures remain largely disconnected. Drawing upon interviews with a purposive sample of policy advocacy directors at 31 nonprofit organizations, this study applies Q-methodology to identify and describe six distinct policy advocacy strategies employed by the organizations, and their resonant theoretical views of policy processes. These findings suggest strategic approaches for nonprofits seeking to influence policy processes. They also enhance the academic literature on policy processes by adding the advocates’ views and expectations. Implications for further research are also identified.

Sheldon Gen <sgen> is in the Department of Public Administration, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA (USA).

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