Executive Summary - Thinking and Working Politically: From Theory Building to Building an Evidence Base

This paper discusses the steps required to build a robust evidence base for 'thinking and working politically' (TWP) in development. It argues that better understanding what works, when and why is an important step in moving TWP into mainstream development programming.

The paper reviews the existing evidence base on TWP, building on this and on other literature on public sector reform and 'pockets of effectiveness' to suggest research questions, case study selection criteria, and a four-level analytical framework: 1) political context; 2) sector; 3) organisation; and 4) individual. The framework aims to help build a 'rigorous enough' evidence base to show whether and how TWP happens and whether or not it influences the effectiveness of programme implementation and outcomes. The paper also calls for more focus on gender issues, and on different – and often more fragile – political contexts.

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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