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Scenes from the departmental court

Rhodes, Roderick

Description

This article argues for research grounded in interpretive theory, or the beliefs and practices of actors, and observational fieldwork, or thick descriptions of what the actors think they are doing. However, discussions of theory and method only come to life when they are grounded in fieldwork. So, at the heart of the article is an account of the Private Offices of British central government departments. I argue that the focus on beliefs and practices enables me to tell a new story. The existing...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorRhodes, Roderick
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-08T22:25:27Z
dc.date.available2015-12-08T22:25:27Z
dc.identifier.issn0952-0767
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/33438
dc.description.abstractThis article argues for research grounded in interpretive theory, or the beliefs and practices of actors, and observational fieldwork, or thick descriptions of what the actors think they are doing. However, discussions of theory and method only come to life when they are grounded in fieldwork. So, at the heart of the article is an account of the Private Offices of British central government departments. I argue that the focus on beliefs and practices enables me to tell a new story. The existing literature does not explore how the individuals who comprise the department's core executive coordinate the department's tasks and resolve conflicts. There is a 'departmental court' that dare not speak its name. By describing the court 'at work', I focus not on individual Private Offices but on the tasks of coordination and conflict resolution at the top of the department. I conclude that any approach that provides new evidence and a novel interpretation makes a strong case for inclusion in the armoury of every student of public administration.
dc.publisherSage Publications Inc
dc.sourcePublic Policy and Administration
dc.subjectKeywords: British government; Civil service; Departmental court; Interpretive theory; Observation; Private Office
dc.titleScenes from the departmental court
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume24
dc.date.issued2009
local.identifier.absfor160603 - Comparative Government and Politics
local.identifier.ariespublicationu4317071xPUB102
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationRhodes, Roderick, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU
local.bibliographicCitation.issue2
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage437
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage56
local.identifier.doi10.1177/0952076709340716
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T10:54:12Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-70350545786
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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