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Conceptualizing Policy Work as Activity and Field of Research

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Author(s): Jan Kohoutek | Martin Nekola | Vilém Novotný

Journal: Central European Journal of Public Policy
ISSN 1802-4866

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 28;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Policy work | policy bureaucrats | policy advice | expert knowledge | motivation

ABSTRACT
The area of policy work and policy workers within government bureaucracies is encompassing a large field of activities and research. This article aims to provide a synthesised perspective on policy work in relating theoretical and empirical accounts of policy workers, identifying points of convergence and linking them to essential assumptions on research in policy work. We conceptualize policy work as activity within government bureaucracies from three interrelated perspectives: the professional identity of policy workers based on knowledge, performance, and motivation; empirical evidence of policy work activities in different contexts; and accounts of main approaches to policy work research. By this conceptualisation, we hope to contribute to the consolidation of present-day knowledge on the policy work field and possibly outline some promising avenues of research into it. We argue that it seems to be necessary, sooner or later, for further development of policy work research, to clarify and arrange essential concepts and terms used by policy work scholars as well as to consolidate methodologies and designs undelying the empirical enquiries. We conclude that without these efforts the field of policy work research will not be moving towards theoretical, methodological and empirical maturity.

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