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Table 1 Ambiguity-Conflict matrix: Policy implementation processes ([28, 32] p. 230)

From: A qualitative exploration of pharmacovigilance policy implementation in Jordan, Oman, and Kuwait using Matland’s ambiguity-conflict model


Low Conflict

High Conflict

Low Ambiguity

Administrative Implementation

Political Implementation

• Goals are given and a means for problem-solving is known

• A central authority has the information, resources, and sanction capability to enact the desired policy

• Implementation is hierarchically ordered with each link receiving orders from the level above

• The policy is spelt out explicitly at each level and there is agreement on responsibilities and tasks

• Relatively uniform outcomes at the micro-level across many sites

• There is conflict over both goals and means

• The implementation process is a key arena for conflict

• Implementation outcomes are determined by the distribution of power

• Compliance is not automatically forthcoming

• Low ambiguity ensures that monitoring of compliance is relatively easy

High Ambiguity

Experimental Implementation

Symbolic Implementation

• Outcomes depend largely on which actors are involved

• Variation in outcomes from site to site

• Outcomes are hard to predict

• Opportunities for local entrepreneurs to create local policies

• Compliance monitoring mechanisms are of limited relevance

• The policy may become a low priority

• Ostensibly implausible combination

• Salient symbols can produce high levels of conflict even when the policy is vague

• Outcomes will vary across sites

• Outcomes will depend upon the balance of local coalition strength

• Policy ambiguity makes it difficult to monitor activities