Robert Hoppe

University of Twente
Science, Technology & Policy Studies

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My research focus is on the institutional and epistemic possibilities and constraints of deliberative and participatory policymaking; policy process theories; comparative public policy, esp. comparison of governance systems; the governance of expertise or science-politics boundary work; the governance of risks; and the application of Q Method.

R. Hoppe (and C. Hughes, A. Ritter, and K. Lancaster), 2017. Understanding policy persistence—The case of police drug detection dog policy in NSW, Australia, International Journal of Drug Policy, 44: 58-68
Abstract: Background: Significant research attention has been given to understanding the processes of drug policy reform. However, there has been surprisingly little analysis of the persistence of policy in the face of opposition and evidence of ineffectiveness. In this article we analysed just such a case – police drug detection dog policy in NSW, Australia. We sought to identify factors which may account for the continuation of this policy, in spite of counter-evidence and concerted advocacy. Methods: The analysis was conducted using the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF). We collated documents relating to NSW drug detection dog policy from 1995 to 2016, including parliamentary records (NSW Parliament Hansard), government and institutional reports, legislation, police procedures,books, media, and academic publications. Texts were then read, coded and classified against the core dimensions of the ACF, including subsystem actors and coalitions, their belief systems and resources and venues employed for policy debate. Results: Three coalitions were identified as competing in the policy subsystem: security/law and order, civil liberties and harm reduction. Factors that aided policy stability were the continued dominance of the security/law and order coalition since they introduced the drug dog policy; a power imbalance enabling the ruling coalition to limit when and where the policy was discussed; and a highly adversarial policy subsystem. In this context even technical knowledge that dogs infringed civil liberties and increased risks of overdose were readily downplayed, leading to only incremental changes in implementation rather than policy cessation or wholesale revision. Conclusion: The analysis provides new insights into why the accumulation of new evidence and advocacy efforts can be insufficient to drive significant policy change. It poses a challenge for the evidence-based paradigm suggesting that in highly adversarial policy subsystems new evidence is unlikely to generatepolicy change without broader subsystem change, such as reducing the adversarial nature and/orproviding new avenues for cross-coalition learning.
R. Hoppe (and J. Katomero and A. Wesselink) 2017. Tales of Accountability: A Q Study of Discourses Among Tanzanian Members of Parliament, Journal of Modern African Studies, 55, 3 (August): 423 - 453
Abstract: The hallmark of accountability in a democracy centres on the way the elected parliament holds the executive to account. If the parliament does not perform its oversight role effectively, lower authorities would have fewer incentives to do the same vis-à-vis local executives. In this article we therefore ask whether or not different meanings of accountability can be discerned amongst Tanzanian Members of Parliament (MPs). In our Q-method research we found four clearly identifiable discourses on accountability amongst Tanzanian MPs: Partycrats; My Electorate's Advocates; Frustrated Account Holders; and Pragmatic Account Holders. We understand MPs discourses within the broader context of political clientelism and we argue that this combination of discourses, or accountability culture, enables the executive to rule in semi-autocratic ways. Even if opposition parties would obtain a parliamentary majority, this accountability culture stands in the way of achieving greater democratic responsiveness.
DOI: DOI: Published online: 11 August 2017
R. Hoppe, 2017. Lindblom on limits to policy change: the tragic dilemma between shaping and understanding the world, European Policy Analysis, 29 pp.
Abstract: Far from being declared obsolete,Lindblom’s views were in many ways prescient of developments in politics and public policy in the new millennium. This article is a modest attempt at “kritische W€urdigung” of Lindblom’s oeuvre for the development of the policy sciences in the summarized his views in a book, explicitly called “The Policy-Making Process,” with a first edition in 1968, a second one in 1980, and a coauthored (with Edward Woodhouse) last edition in 1993. Since Lindblom and Woodhouse have done later generations of policy scholars the favor of referring to Lindblom’s previous works as insertions and footnotes to this text, we are in a position to judge how Lindblom himself saw his contribution to theories of the entire policy-making process. It is therefore only appropriate to start, in Section Two, with a summary and some clarifying comments on this book. Section Three starts with Linblom’s curious silence on epistemology and methodology. Section Four deals with how incrementalism relates to present views on long-term policy dynamics. Section Five looks at incrementalism as method of strategic analysis, and how since the 1990s a suite of “neo-incrementalist” theories and approaches has developed. The final section offers a critical but appreciative assessment of Lindblom’s work for future challenges by returning to his major thesis that there are predictable limits to responsible policy change in democratic regimes.
DOI: DOI: 10.1002/epa2.10210) Published online: 20 September 2017
R. Hoppe, 2017. Heuristics for practitioners in policy design: rules-of-thumb for taming 'wicked' problems, Public Policy and Administration (Special Issue: Questioning policy design: theory and practice), 1-25 (DOI: 10.1177/0952076717709338)
Abstract: This article is an attempt to bridge the divide between academics and practitioners. Informed by both design theory and the reality of policy work, its focus is on ‘problems’. From a practitioners’ perspective, policy design is both an intellectual and political process, an inevitable oscillation between ‘puzzling’ and ‘powering’, in which ‘messy’ or unstructured problems are re-structured from problems as webs of ‘undesirable situations’ to problems as specific, time-and-space bound ‘opportunities for improvement’. This requires a questioning habitus in practitioners of policy design. Using a socio-cognitive theory of problem processing, this paper shows how policy design is an iterative process of problem sensing, problem categorization, problem decomposition and problem definition. For each of these stages, appropriate rules-of-thumb for questioning and answering can be suggested that induce thought habits and styles for responsive and solid policy designs.
DOI: DOI: 10.1177/0952076717709338
R. Hoppe (2016) Towards the Comparative Study of Policy Work. A Rejoinder to Radin’s Views on Policy Analysis as “Advice to a Client”, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 18:3, 302-306,
DOI: DOI: 10.1080/13876988.2016.1175192
R. Hoppe (and A. Wesselink, and R. Lemmens) 2015. Not just a tool. Taking context into account in the development
of a mobile App for rural water supply in Tanzania.
Water Alternatives 8(2): 57-76
Abstract: The 'eGovernance' hype around the potential of mobile phone and geoweb technologies for enhancing 'good governance' is soaring. In East Africa, the extensive use of mobile telephony adds to theimagined promises of ICT. We reflect on the assumptions made by the proponents of such tools, using our own action research project as an example. We took great care to consider context in the development of software for enhancing empowerment and accountability in rural water supply in Tanzania. However, we found that the rural water supply context in Tanzania is much more complex than the contexts for which successful mApps have been developed previously. Institutional analysis and public administration theory help to understand why. Rural water supply shows institutional hybridity, with water being at the same time a private, public and common-pool good. In addition, in accountability relations, many informal mechanisms prevail where explicit reporting is not relevant. Finally, our proposal sat uneasily with other ongoing iGovernment initiatives. We conclude that we need to consider eGovernance tools as political Apps that can be expected to trigger political responses.
A. Pelizza and R. Hoppe, 2015. Birth of a failure. Media debates and digital infrastructures and the organization of governance, Administration & Society 1–30
Abstract: Government information systems failures are filling not only newspapers, but also parliamentary and administrative reports. This paper deals with a case in which information and communication technologies (ICT)-related failure claims introduced by the media influenced the parliamentary agenda, and intra-governmental relations. Drawing on a narrative analysis of a Dutch parliamentary commission’s hearings, it argues that the way the issue was initially framed by the media and then adopted, unproblematized, by Parliament steered the direction of action toward specific administrative solutions, thus shaping the landscape of possible organizational alliances. The paper recommends a proactive role of parliaments in framing if ICT projects.
DOI: DOI: 10.1177/0095399715598343
R. Hoppe (and K. Lancaster, A. Ritter and C. Hughes), 2016. A critical examination of the introduction of drug detection dogs for policing of illicit drugs in New South Wales, Australia using Kingdon's 'multiple streams' heuristic, in Evidence and Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice
Abstract: This paper critically analyses the introduction of drug detection dogs as a tool for policing of illicit drugs in New South Wales, Australia. Using Kingdon’s ‘multiple streams’ heuristic as a lens for analysis, we identify how the issue of drugs policing became prominent on the policy agenda, and the conditions under which the alternative of drug detection dogs for illicit drugs policing came to be endorsed by decision makers. By applying Kingdon’s heuristic, we also consider how this approach may be used to illuminate the limitations of the evidence-based policy paradigm in the context of policing policy. keywords: Kingdon • multiple streams • policing • drug detection dogs
R. Hoppe and H. Colebatch, 2016. The Role of Theories in Policy Studies and Policy Work: Selective Affinities between Representation and Performation?, in European Policy Analysis, Vol. 2, Nr. 1, 121-149
Abstract: In this article, we intend to take a few steps to mending the disconnect between the academic study of policy processes and the many practices of professional and not-so-professional policy work. We argue, first, that the “toolkit” of academically warranted approaches to the policy process used in the representative mode may be ordered in a family tree with three major branches: policy as reasoned authoritative choice, policy as association in policy networks, and policy as problematization and joint meaning making. But, and this is our second argument, such approaches are not just representations to reflect and understand “reality”. They are also mental maps and discursive vehicles for shaping and sometimes changing policy practices. In other words, they also serve performative functions. The purpose of this article is to contribute to policy theorists’ and policy workers’ awareness of these often tacit and “underground” selective affinities between the representative and performative roles of policy process theorizing. Keywords: governing, policy, policymaking process, policy analysis, policy work, representation, performation
DOI: doi: 10.18278/epa.2.1.8
Hoppe, R., 2011. The Governance of Problems. Puzzling, Powering, and Participation. Policy Press, Bristol (soft cover edition) Hisschemöller, M., R. Hoppe, W.N. Dunn, and J.R. Ravetz., Eds. 2001. Knowledge, Power, and Participation in Environmental Policy Analysis. Policy Studies Review Annual 12. New Brunswick, NJ, Transaction Publishers. R. Hoppe (and Hal Colebatch, and Mirko Noordegraaf (eds.) 2010, Working for Policy, Chicago University Press and Amsterdam University Press. R. Hoppe and Hal Colebatch (eds.), to be published in 2016, Handbook of Policy Process Theories, Edward Elgar Hoppe, R. 2005. "Rethinking the science-policy nexus: from knowledge utilization and science technology studies to types of boundary arrangements." Poiesis and Praxis:International Journal of Technology Assessment and Ethics of Science 3(3): 199-215. Hoppe, R. 2008 Scientific advice and public policy: expert advisers’ and policymakers’ discourses on boundary work, Poièsis & Praxis, 6, 3-4, 235-263 (on-line doi 10.1007/s10202_008-0053-3) R. Hoppe and A. Wesselink 2010/11. If Post-normal Science is the Solution, What Is the Problem? Science, Technology and Human Values, Vol. 36, Nr. 3, 389-412 (on-line November 7, 2010, DOI: 10.1177/01622439103885786) R. Hoppe 2010/11., Institutional constraints and practical problems in deliberative and participatory policy making, in Policy & Politics, Vol. 39, Nr. 2, 163-183 (on-line 19 August 2010, DOI: 10.1332/030557310X519650)

Substantive Focus:
Governance PRIMARY
Comparative Public Policy SECONDARY

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Process Theory PRIMARY
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation
Policy Analysis and Evaluation SECONDARY