Paper Example - Bardach's Eightfold Path

Published: 2023-04-05
Paper Example - Bardach's Eightfold Path
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Strategy Problem solving
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1264 words
11 min read

The first step in the eightfold path is defining the problem. It is a crucial step; it validates the work to be done and gives the evidence-gathering phase a sense of direction. In the last step, the final problem definition aids in structuring how to tell your story (Bardach & Patashnik, 2019). Of essence is thinking in terms of excesses and deficits. Quantifying the problem manifests the magnitude of the issue at hand and tells the urgency to accord it. Recruiting and retaining firefighters is a significant challenge in the department. The staff turnover is relatively high. The number of volunteers has been on the decline in the past three years. Currently, professional firefighters on call are twelve, while the volunteers are four. The department needs an additional eight professional firefighters if we are to deliver our services satisfactorily.

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The second step is all about the collection of evidence. Data gets transformed into information; this is later projected as evidence to support the identified problem. This step serves two primary purposes: first, to analyze the extent and nature of the defined problem. Secondly, to explain the specific features of the problem you are facing (Sabatier, 2019). Some issues encountered in this step include, current information may not be readily available, and budgetary limitations may deter from researching to assemble the necessary evidence. The fire department notes that most of the firefighters leave the job in pursuit of better pay in other industries. As a result, the fire department cannot respond to two calls at the same time. The severity of our understaffing is evident. The employees on board are currently overworked.

The third step in the process is constructing alternatives. Bardach's recommendation is "Start Comprehensive End up Focused." Market models, production models, and evolutionary models are the most common models used when constructing alternatives. This step offers the analyst to make a concrete decision backed by evidence. The analysts can comfortably disregard insignificant options and focus solely on the ones that could be implemented in the long address the understaffing issues; there are several proposals (Sabatier, 2019). The fire department can start a fire firefighting academy to train its staff. Another option is intensifying campaigns in the community, encouraging the locals to sign up as volunteers. Increasing the salary of a firefighter may attract and retain more people to join the taskforce. Employees are offered incentives to motivate and keep them at the fire department.

Selecting criteria is the fourth step. In this step, philosophy and values get introduced into the policy analysis. The test gets applied to the projected outcome. The application of this step allows the analyst to focus on the expected outcome alternatives are assessed based on expected results. Various approaches are adopted in the evaluation. Examples include; efficiency, process values, and equality. This way, the alternatives are reviewed on a merit basis, not preference (Jonassen, 2004). The other options arrived at above should then be analyzed thoroughly. All the alternatives are subject to thorough screening for efficiency. Implementation costs for all the different options get calculated. Fire department combs through the alternative one by one to identify the best one that can address the shortage of puff firefighters - for instance, mobilizing locals to sign up as volunteer firefighters require intensified campaign strategies. This alternative demands a proactive approach involving .actively engaging in the community and partaking in social activities. It requires the fire department to create a rapport with the locals.

The fifth step is the outcome projection. It is considered the toughest stage in the eightfold path. Quantification is essential here, since thinking about an outcome demands knowing the direction it will take and its magnitude. When the step gets done in the right manner, the analyst can foresee the importance of the issue (Jonassen, 2004). Projecting outcomes provide the techniques to use in analyzing whether to adopt or drop an alternative. At the fire department, the proposed options get weighed against the possible consequences they can generate. Each choice gets evaluated to project the result it can bring about successfully. It would entail forecasting the number of recruits that would sign up with each strategy if adopted. An estimation of the anticipated hires gets done vis-a-vis every option available for the fire department.

Confronting trade-offs is the sixth in the Bardach eightfold approach. The outcomes of every alternative get applied against the criteria. The performance of every option gets noted. An alternative may perform poorly against benchmark and well in another approach. It is essential to understand these trade-offs fully. Here, the department would score how the predetermined outcomes against the requirements identified (Opollo, 2009). How do intensified campaigns in the neighborhood impact the fire department, and what is the cost of the exercise?

Furthermore, which criterion matters the most. Is the fire department willing to sacrifice some expenses to increase the wages of the staff members? Are the current firefighters willing to sacrifice their time to put up advertisement posters within the neighborhood?

Making a decision is the seventh step. This step serves as the check for the analysis or work. If you are not feeling comfortable identifying the best outcome or making a decision, the trade-offs may not have been clarified well enough (Opollo, 2009). Or you may be afraid and nervous about implementing it. If that happens, go back to the drawing board to make sure that the outcomes are convincing. At this step, the fire department decides which alternative to adopt to boost the employee population. Based on the other options, I think campaigns would work best for the department. It is a cost-effective method, and it offers the residents a chance to give back to the society they are living in the locality.

The final step in the process is telling your story after several iterations of the steps above. You are in a position to narrate to your account to an audience. The audience could be a client or an aggregation of interested parties or stakeholders. At this point, you think of the relationship that exists between you and the client. What to say to them is dependent on the kind of relationship with them. It is also essential to have a broader political environment in mind. You consider who is going to make use of the analysis or if someone may opt to pick up your findings for use in an advocacy context (Bardach, &Patashnik,2019). The story can be told orally or in written form. Tailor the story's structure to meet the needs and interests of the audience. In the context of the fire department, the chief attendant would have to inform the mayor of the decision made. He will prepare himself adequately before the appointment with the mayor.

Bardach's eightfold path is a detail-oriented approach to policymaking. It makes the decision-making process more comfortable and more productive. Businesses and individuals are highly encouraged to adopt this strategy when making decisions. The step-by-step process reduces the risk of making the wrong decision. Weighing the alternatives against criteria ensures that the decision chosen in the end will yield the best outcome.


Bardach, E., & Patashnik, E. M. (2019). A practical guide for policy analysis: The eightfold path to more effective problem-solving. CQ Press.

Jonassen, D. H. (2004). Learning to solve problems: An instructional design guide (Vol. 6). John Wiley & Sons.

Opollo, D. A. (2009). Essentials of Social Work Policy Practice, by CJ Rocha and A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis: The Eightfold Path to More Effective Problem Solving, by E. Bardach: (2007). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. (2009). Washington, DC: CQ Press.

Sabatier, P. (2019). Theories of the policy process. Routledge.

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