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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News

Doing Development Differently workshop - Jakarta 2017

Thursday 30th March 2017

Putting the concept of Thinking and Working Politically into practice was at the heart of a workshop on 15-16 March attended by more than 200 delegates from the field of international development. Delegates from the government, civil service and local organisations of the host country, Indonesia, were joined by academics, including DLP researchers, and staff from donor organisations and NGOs.

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DLP shares research at FCO Africa Study Day

Monday 27th March 2017

DLP findings on the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the topics discussed with with UK diplomats and civil servants at the FCO's Africa Study Day, held at Sandhurst on 21 March. This year's Foreign and Commonwealth Office event was organised by University of Birmingham's International Development Department, home to DLP.

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