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A tool for public services research and development

Anne Edwards (Department of Education and St Hilda’s College, Oxford University, Oxford, UK)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to introduce in detail a research tool, which was first used to examine how the motivated actions of leaders in public services, such as Directors of Children's Services, take forward their strategic purposes and subsequently adapted for revealing the strategic actions of Family Support Workers.


The theoretical bases for the research tool are given in some depth and examples of the tool and its possibilities for adaptation are provided.


This conceptual paper provides a resource for examining the connection between strategic purposes and motivated actions in everyday leadership practices.

Research limitations/implications

The explication of theoretical foundations of the tool prepares the ground for further adaptations to meet the needs of other research studies which aim at analytically linking actions and strategies in studies of leadership in the public services.

Practical implications

The tool has proven potential as a resource for reflective practice and professional learning.


The arguments are based in cultural-historical approaches to understanding motivated action in institutional practices. This approach has been employed in a study of leadership in children's services, and the present paper gives detailed access to the main methodological device used in that study.



Edwards, A. (2015), "A tool for public services research and development", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 21-33.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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