Network Analysis Functionality in Environmental Policy: Combining Abstract Software Engineering with Field Empiricism
AbstractAn empirical application of abstract network analysis software is presented in this paper. Environmental policy networks are used as a case study. The visualization of the real network hierarchy and activity (formal and informal) is feasible only by using special software. A system of "actors"(e.g. public institutions, interest groups, enterprises) interacting with each other and dealing with a particular environmental issue constitutes a policy network, which influences the environmental policy functionality. The impacts of policy content ambiguity on network characteristics have been analyzed by using network analysis software as an example of combining algorithms with empiricism. Recommendations are made to software engineers about possible combination of algorithms with statistics and enrichment of the network analysis software with more visual analytic functions. Stronger familiarization of software engineers with policy analysis discourse and of policy analysts with positivism becomes more imperative for this purpose. On the basis of the quantitative results, environmental policy-makers are advised to invest more in trust development than in pressure and to instrumentalize more scientific information under conditions of ambiguity.
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