Arbetsrapport, Institutet för Framtidsstudier - Institute for Futures Studies
Knowing the game: motivation and skills among policy professionals
Abstract: This paper focuses on “policy professionals”, i.e. people
who are employed to affect politics and policy, and analyzes their
particular motivations and skills. The paper focuses on the occupational
practices of policy professionals: what are their main motivations and
driving forces, and what are the key resources they deploy in their work?
The main motivation for policy professionals is a desire to wield power and
influence the course of affairs, while their working-life satisfaction
comes from getting their message into the media without becoming personally
exposed. The key resource of policy professionals is context-dependent
politically useful knowledge, in three main forms: “Problem formulation”
involves highlighting and framing social problems and their possible
solutions. “Process expertise” consists of understanding the “where, how
and why” of the political and policy-making processes. “Information access”
is the skill to be very fast in finding reliable and relevant information.
These motivations and skills underpin a particular professionalism based in
an “entrepreneurial ethos”, which differs from both the ethos of elected
politicians, and that of civil servants, and which has some potentially
problematic implications for democratic governance.
Keywords: policy; politics; Sweden; democracy; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: H11; H83; (follow links to similar papers)
26 pages, April 7, 2016
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