The 'Why' and the 'How' of Policy Practice: An Eight-Country Comparison

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This article deals with the engagement of social workers in the policy arena. It offers a conceptual framework for the examination of why social workers engage in policy practice and how they actually do so. Drawing upon examples from a cross-national study comprising eight countries, the Policy Practice Engagement (PPE) conceptual framework presented in the article comprises three legs - Opportunity, Facilitation and Motivation. It is asserted that social worker involvement in the policy arena and the form that this takes will depend upon the degree to which political institutions are accessible to social workers and the degree to which the organisational culture of their workplace facilitates this type of activity. It will also be related to the degree to which social workers are motivated to engage in policy practice. This will be linked to the professional socialisation process as well as to individual characteristics and values.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1083-1101
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • Cross-national
  • policy formulation
  • policy practice
  • social policy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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