Center for Planning Research and Practice, Great Lakes Environmental Finance Center, Center for Public Management
Development and implementation of administrative programs are important steps in the process of change through public law and policy. These programs set the specific mechanisms that will be used to carry out the intent of the law or policy as best an agency can determine. Administrative personnel may involve the general public and stakeholders in program development and implementation in order to improve program design, increasingly used as part of collaborative environmental management strategies. This article examines the use of focus groups as a stakeholder participation method in collaborative program development and implementation processes in two different environmentally-oriented agency programs at the state level in Ohio—the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund of the Ohio Department of Development, and the Ohio Coastal Resources Management Training Program of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, NOAA, and the Ohio Sea Grant Program. The comparison confirms three categories of benefits in using focus groups: better program development and implementation through more in-depth and nuanced information from stakeholders, an enhanced administrative and civic capacity through development of a shared knowledge base, and an enhanced sense of legitimacy for the program among future program beneficiaries. The comparison also identified some constraints and challenges for using focus groups, including the importance of skilled facilitators with substantive knowledge of the environmental context of the program development process and the skills to resolve contentious stakeholder interactions when the processes are distributive in nature.
Kellogg, Wendy; O'Brien, Kevin E.; Robey, Claudette; and Toth, Kirstin, "COMMENTARY: The Use of Focus Groups for Design and Implementation of Collaborative Environmental Administrative Programs: A Comparison of Two State-Level Processes in Ohio" (2007). Urban Publications. 0 1 2 3 63.
Kellogg, W. A., O'Brien, K., Robey, C., & Toth, K. (January 01, 2007). COMMENTARY: The Use of Focus Groups for Design and Implementation of Collaborative Environmental Administrative Programs: A Comparison of Two State-Level Processes in Ohio. Environmental Practice, 9, 3, 166-178.
(c) 2007 Cambridge University Press