Teacher, Researcher and … Policy Actor? Social Work Academics’ Involvement in Social Policy

Idit Weiss-Gal*, John Gal, Talia Meital Schwartz-Tayri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This cross-sectional quantitative study expands the knowledge on the level of involvement of social work academics (SWAs) in social policy formulation processes, and the factors associated with this. SWAs are an interesting case for exploring the academia–policy nexus because they are affiliated with a profession in which the discourse regards social policy as a target of intervention. The study took place in Israel, where social work is strongly embedded in academia and enjoys relatively high professional status. The study drew upon a sample, which consisted of 57 per cent of all SWAs in Israel, and employed questionnaires developed specifically for the study. The findings show that the highest levels of involvement were in activities characterized by more active, public sphere routes of influence within the policy arena that were undertaken in conjunction with traditional social work partners. Social work scholars engaged in these activities more during the initial stages of the policy process. These forms of policy involvement reflect the dual impact of academia and the social work profession upon SWAs. Associated with level of involvement were individual factors, which included academic rank, perception of the social role of academia, perceived individual policy role, and perceived policy competencies. By contrast, factors linked to institutional support for policy engagement were not found to be associated with policy involvement.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)776-795
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • Academics
  • Israel
  • Social policy
  • Social work


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