DLP's core research themes
Five core themes run through the heart of this new-look Developmental Leadership Program website. They are signposts to help visitors explore our research, and they are the building blocks of the new strategy that will guide our work over the next three years.
Politically informed programming is how we describe the process by which policymakers and practitioners come to understand and support the political dimensions of developmental change, beyond the technical issues involved. Our researchers examine the political processes behind developmental change, and aim to clarify the roles of power, agency, leadership and conflict. This research stream includes ground-breaking approaches to these issues: for instance, using the Delphi method to analyse competing interests; and using action research to help practitioners build their skills in politically smart programming.
Elites and political settlements is a theme that has underpinned our work since DLP's very first research paper, on South Africa's transition from apartheid to democracy. Understanding elites – at all levels and in all sectors – and the formal and informal agreements, or 'settlements', between contending groups about how to organise power helps us to understand how developmental change happens. It helps us see where and how legitimate rules and norms that promote development are forged – for example, how Somaliland escaped the civil wars that have crippled Somalia.
Reform coalitions are often important in achieving developmental change. DLP-commissioned research in the Philippines, for example, found that even with strong presidential support for reform, coalitions involving elements of government, the legislature, and civil society played a crucial role in its success. Our research examines how coalitions are built, and how they work to achieve reform in different contexts.
Leaderships is the category that demonstrates how the 'leadership' of our title has little to do with the 'Great Men' that populate history text books. We want to understand the many different forms of leadership, and where they come from. We want to know whether developmental leadership at any level of society, and among any group (such as women) is a happy accident, or a phenomenon that can be deliberately nurtured. A major stream of case study-based research is examining the role that secondary and higher education can play in fostering leadership qualities and creating networks of like-minded leaders.
Attitudes, values and ideas, finally, is a category that looks beyond financial incentives to examine what else motivates and influences different groups of actors, whether politicians, elites and recipient governments, or disenfranchised groups, civil society and donors. New research projects in this category include studies of elites' attitudes to poverty, and of citizens' willingness to get involved in anti-corruption activism.
These categories inevitably overlap. So for those visitors who want to drill deeper into the cross-cutting aspects of our research, the option to filter content by more detailed thematic tags appears on every page.
We hope you find the site easy and pleasant to navigate. Please feel free to send us your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org – there is always room for improvement and all comments and suggestions will be gratefully received. Over the coming months you will find a wide range of publications, opinions, news and features on the site. We hope to see you here again soon!