Setting agendas and designing alternatives: Policymaking and the strategic role of meetings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This paper investigates the role of strategic forums - such as special commissions, task,forces, roundtables, working groups, summits - in the policy process. Reviewing prominent theories about policymaking, the author suggests ways in which strategic forums might fit within these frameworks as an analytically distinct policy lever. The paper examines existing literature on such forums, and identifies characteristics of "meetings that matter" - those gatherings that appear to have achieved some policy traction in a given domain. Finally, the paper investigates a particular field, cultural policy, to evaluate the extent to which meetings are serving policy purposes. The author concludes that meetings can serve an important role in the policy process by framing public problems and highlighting policy alternatives; creating and sustaining policy communities; fostering policy transfer and knowledge uptake; and developing networks among policy entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, with regard to cultural policy, the author argues that, compared to other policy domains, strategic policy-focused convenings are not a regular part of the arts and culture landscape and remain underused policy tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-542
Number of pages20
JournalReview of Policy Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Setting agendas and designing alternatives: Policymaking and the strategic role of meetings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this