Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Peter Kobrak

Second Advisor

Dr. Matthew Mingus

Third Advisor

Dr. William Long


It is generally believed that social policy is the result of careful research and planning on the part of officials. Yet there often exists a gap between theformulation and implementation of many social policies. This gap brings with it conflict, which in turn may result in unintended consequences. Theseconsequences may be so antithetical to the formulators' original intent as to make the policy implementation paradoxical.

This qualitative research study examines the ambiguities, challenges, or boundaries that policy formulators placed on practitioners responsible for implementing Michigan's Safe Delivery of Newborns Act and that ultimately created unintended consequences indicative of a public policy paradox. By utilizing elite interviews and content analysis of documents, the themes of moral development, social construction, decision making, and public policy issues are compared.

This research concludes that when public policies are formulated as the result of an emotional response to an issue, when there are epistemological differences between formulators and implementers, or when formulators fail to consider the voices of those directly impacted by their decisions, there is a likelihood that a paradoxical policy will arise.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access