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Eyewitness to history: Public servant perspectives, methodological suggestions, and professional publications

Peter M. Leitner (U.S. Department of Defense and George Mason University Department of Public and International Affairs Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444)
Ronald J. Stupak (EMCO Corporation 663 Bradford Lane Early sville, Virginia 22936)

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior

ISSN: 1093-4537

Article publication date: 1 March 2000



Involvement in formulating, implementing or evaluating public policy initiatives, regulatory requirements, or executive/legislative interaction provides a rich opportunity for “reflective practitioners” of public policy to inform the outside community on how the government really operates. However, their close involvement in the process requires a multifaceted methodological approach to ensure objectivity and clarity. The combination of participant observation and case study offers such a vehicle. This approach may create an expanded qualitative methodological vehicle for reflective practitioners to inform students of public policy by breaking out of the confining and simplistic “iron-triangle” model, as well as adding “substantive flesh” to the “stark skeletons” of systems analysis, operations research, rational incrementalism, and logical positivism. Though the search is for objectivity in the social sciences, this does not mean that one is required to become a cybernetic machine or to pursue the study of politics and policy to the exclusion of the involved actor's perspective. The development of this article will hopefully add behavioral, operational, and methodological legitimacy for the reflective practitioner's input to the existing academic, journalistic, and impressionistic literature on the policy-making process.


Leitner, P.M. and Stupak, R.J. (2000), "Eyewitness to history: Public servant perspectives, methodological suggestions, and professional publications", International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, Vol. 3 No. 1/2, pp. 73-114.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000 by Marcel Dekker, Inc.

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