Handbook on Policy, Process and Governing
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Handbook on Policy, Process and Governing

Edited by H. K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe

This Handbook covers the accounts, by practitioners and observers, of the ways in which policy is formed around problems, how these problems are recognized and understood, and how diverse participants come to be involved in addressing them. H.K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe draw together a range of original contributions from experts in the field to illuminate the ways in which policies are formed and how they shape the process of governing.
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Chapter 15: Policy work and its significance for public policy

Jan Kohoutek, Martin Nekola and Arnošt Veselý


Policy work is a theme rarely tackled in edited scholarly volumes. Highlighting the significance of policy work in public policymaking, this chapter reviews how policy processes can be understood as a pattern of specialized work. To this end, the chapter first delineates the main characteristics of policy work and proceeds to review the major conceptual approaches to it. The chapter then gives an overview of empirical literature on the work of policy, and concludes with some suggestions for future research on it. In essence, the chapter argues that policy work encompasses much broader and diverse sets of practice-related activities than commonly assumed and advocated in policy analysis. It is therefore timely to re-orient, both conceptually and empirically, scholarly thinking of what is the nature of work policy practitioners do in reality, to reach beyond the confines of governmental instrumentalism and science-led (purely rational) problem-solving.

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