The passage of the SEA and creation of the Single Market were complex undertakings that necessarily have created varying theoretical accounts of how and why they were successful, and what motivated their creation. The three articles assigned all have accounts that vary depending on which theoretical school they adhered to in their analysis.
The first article by Maravcsik states the goal of the SEA to be the removal of internal frontiers and barriers to trade and the movement of people across borders, as set forth in the EC 1985 Commission White Paper (Moravcsik, 19). He focuses extensively and almost exclusively on the motivations and negotiations of the Council members and European leaders in bargaining over the Act. He concludes that this negotiation resulted in an SEA that was a "new approach" to old financial problems and resulted in a streamlined decision making process. He rejects the view that institutional reforms were the result of any kind of "elite alliance" between European business interest groups (as put forth in the Sandholz article discussed below) and EC officials and instead emphasizes that it stemmed from a desire of the Heads of State to solidify their domestic interests in an intergovernmental institutionalist framework (Moravcsik, 20). I personally found this article to be overly focused on the Heads of State actors in the bargaining process (though I understand that he seems to be trying to move away from the more traditional analysis of the SEA as stemming soley from bargaining between elites and EC members). He rejects the notion that the SEA demonstrates a rebirth or vindication of neofunctionalism and advocates instead an intergovernmental institutionalistic approach (Moravcisk, 56). This intergovernmental approach does not match with my own analytical framework preference, since it underemphasizes the importance of non-state actors and does not look at the bigger, global picture and market pressures. Although Moravcsik also offers little analysis on the actual implementation of the SEA he does extensively cover the domestic government's motivations for selecting its policy stances.
In my opinion, the second article by Garrett is slightly more logically sound. It notes as well that the SEA's goal was the removal of non-tarrif barriers to trade. Garrett also covers more extensively than Moravcsik what are the implications of a new, Single European market, and the streamlined legislative process stemming from the introduction of qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers. (Garrett, 536). I agree with his functionalist approach to an extent, but I also think that it does not highlight enough the pressures of constituents on their leaders domestically nor the special interests lobbied by businesses in support of fewer barriers to trade. He seems to agree with Moravcsik's view that the ultimate form of the internal market is dominated by the most powerful countries like Germany and France, a view that I think is accurate (Garrett, 560).
The third article by Sandholz and Zysman provided the most logically sound analysis, in my opinion. This article focused more extensively than the previous two on what the actual implications of the SEA are and the current issues it faces. They cast the EU market in a more global perspective, along with the American and Asian markets. They stress that Europeans must show a more "coherent political presence" on the world stage if they are to compete in the world economy. (Sandholz, 127). I think this analysis is more practical and applicable to real world problems that emerge, and I like that it casts the EU Single Market not in terms of itself alone, but in terms of a larger, shifting global economy, which undoubtedly has an influence today in the desired level of eventual EU integration. Contrary to Moravcsik, they emphasize the role of elites and business lobbyist pressures for less economic barriers between borders (though they note these groups are unlikely to retain this role in the future). (Sandholz, 127-8).
My favorite aspect of the Sandholz and Zysman analysis is that it dismisses the importance of many competing analytical frameworks seeking to understand the SEA. They seem to reject adhering to any one particular theoretical framework, and instead analyze the complex real world pressures on and implications of the SEA. Studying these various frameworks and how they are continually surpassed by newer ones seeking to explain some new developmental shift has left me unconvinced that they are necessarily the most useful tool for understanding EU integration, its policies, or its implications. As put forth in this article, "In the end, it is not a matter of which (theoretical analysis) is better, but of whether the right questions are being asked." (Sandholz, 127).