Six Pathways of Policy Change

Sarah Stachowiak, a U.S. researcher, describes six pathways that each represent different theories about how policy change happens:

  • Policy change through large leaps
  • Coalition building for policy change
  • Looking out for windows of opportunity for policy change
  • Reframing the (public) mind-set as a key ingredient for policy change
  • Policy change as a result of decisions from the power elite
  • Policy change as a result of movement building or grassroots pressure

Reflecting that different pathways are suited to different situations, one practitioner cautions that “in some cases it can be more effective to make a big splash in the media and in others, it is better to have closed discussions.” Also, to effectively make large leaps, foundations are required to commit for long periods of time.

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Speaking Up!.