The strategy memo is a briefing paper, written by a staff member (you) to the person you will be representing at the roundtable, analyzing the politics of the position that this person should take and also recommending particular tactics and strategy. Its purpose is to think strategically for your boss. The choices your boss makes — in terms of both style and substance — will depend on your assessment of the likely success of each option, but it will also depend on what goals your boss is trying to achieve from his position on the issue. Greenpeace, for example, wants to spotlight attention to environmental issues, while also maintaining or increasing its high-profile and membership internationally. While it is broadly against genetically modified foods, each decision about Greenpeace’s specific policy position and political strategy has implications for its potential supporters or coalition partners. How should it intervene in a particular issue, such as the Swiss referendum against genetic modification? Would it be better to use very theatrical protest actions, or to adopt a more compromising stance? Would particular frames be more resonant than others? Are there particular sympathetic coalition partners? The memo also has to take into consideration the kinds of opposition that may emerge, for example from the biotechnology industry. Should you try to adopt a position that may be more amenable to the biotech industry but may violate your core values? Is there a way to maintain your core values while still developing a strategy that will stand up to the strength, power, and money of pro-GMO groups?
Your paper should include a statement of goals, an analysis of the political environment (other stakeholders, venues, frames as well as your own organization’s resources), specific strategic recommendations (including the pros and cons), and a description of how your position and the tactics you’re advocating will contribute to your organization’s goals. You should also include the political reasoning for adopting the strategy (ies) you’ve chosen, the allies and the opposition that you anticipate (in terms of their arguments and political strategies.)
This memo should help you to think through the elements of a good political analysis: to define problems specifically, identify relevant actors and their various goals, specify an audience, and propose a strategy to accomplish your own goals. It should also help you to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of particular strategies: to assess alternatives, to meet likely attacks, and to anticipate the repercussions of your actions. As with the research memo, you do not need to cite the class readings directly, but making use of the ideas in relevant sections of the course will improve your paper.
The page limit is 1250 words, double-spaced, normal fonts, not including references. Ingenuity in stretching the page limit will not be rewarded.