What Really Matters in Adult Education Program Planning: Lessons in Negotiating Power and Interests(
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In our book Planning Responsibly for Adult Education: A Guide to Negotiating Power and Interests, we described program planning as a social activity in which people negotiate personal and organizational interests to construct educational programs for adults. In our view, programs are planned by real people in complex organizations that have their own traditions, political relationships, and needs and interests. All planners know that they are not free agents able to direcly mold the purposes, content, and format of a program to satisfy their own interests. Rather, planning is always conducted within a complex set of personal, organizational, and social relationships among people who may have similar, different, or conflicting interests. Thus, program planners' responsibility, and the essential problem of their practice, centers on how to negotiate the interests of these people to construct a program. Since our book was published, a number of practitioners and researchers have used the theoretical framework it described to examine program planning practice. In doing so, they have offered many useful insights for program planners regarding the political realities and ethical issues of everyday practice. We believe it is time to collect these insights and assess what we can learn from practice. The purpose of this sourcebook, then, is to identify the political and ethical issues faced by program planners in a variety of practice settings and the actual negotiation strategies they use in these settings. This is the 69th issue in the journal series New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education.