This study addresses the engagement of organizations with policy processes in the U.S. Congress. Organizations are often assumed to be influential but the nature of the influence has not been fully specified. In this project, the interdisciplinary team of Principal Investigators from computer and information science and political science will develop a model of organization influence on legislative outcomes. This study will use comprehensive reports of engagement activities from the U.S. Senate Office of Public Records to evaluate the timing and impact of engagement. The computer and information scientists will collaborate with the political scientists to develop, enhance, and analyze this comprehensive time series data. This includes building a database system for engagement activities, merging theat data with other sources of information on organizations and issues, coding bills and issues using software designed to classify digitized text, and establishing organization policy preferences using social network analysis techniques.
The researchers will model the behavior of a variety of organizational types including corporations, trade associations, professional associations, and nonprofit organizations within a shared organizational field. The research will contrast theories of isomorphism among organizations with theories of resource dependence to highlight similarities and differences in organization behavior and influence.
In terms of broader impacts, the project will establish an interdisciplinary collaboration and apply information science methodologies to the study of policy processes and will, more broadly, integrate computer and information sciences into social science research. In addition, one of the products of the study will be a comprehensive database available to other researchers to address questions of policy development within the executive branch, the development of important pieces of legislation, and the processes associated with major policy outcomes.