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Book part

Yolanda Patrice Jones

Librarians have been urged to emphasize social justice and human rights issues in their library mission, but they may find themselves challenged to provide additional…

Abstract

Librarians have been urged to emphasize social justice and human rights issues in their library mission, but they may find themselves challenged to provide additional services, such as access to legal information for those who cannot afford an attorney. Social justice services in libraries are seldom adequately funded and providing services in this area is labor intensive. In addition, there is an emotional intensity in library services for social justice that is often not considered in the initial enthusiasm of providing services in this area. Yet there seems to be no limit to the need. An interesting and useful perspective on how a public agency such as a library responds in circumstances of limited resources and unlimited demand can be found in the book Street-Level Bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Service, by Michael Lipsky. In this perspective, lower level civil servants who interact directly with members of the general public exercise a level of discretion in the amount of services provided and how those services are administered. This chapter explores how this can generate tensions between more traditional library bureaucracy and social justice services, such as providing public access to justice resources in law libraries. However, the “street-level” response is evolving into a sustainability perspective as librarians embrace a more social justice–oriented outlook in library service planning.

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Article

Ian Taylor and Josie Kelly

Seeks to examine how far Michael Lipsky's theory of discretion as it relates to public sector professionals as “street‐level bureaucrats” is still applicable in the light…

Abstract

Purpose

Seeks to examine how far Michael Lipsky's theory of discretion as it relates to public sector professionals as “street‐level bureaucrats” is still applicable in the light of public sector reform and in particular the introduction of increased managerial control over professionals.

Design/methodology/approach

The main thesis in Lipsky's work, Street‐Level Bureaucracy, that street‐level bureaucrats devise their own rules and procedures to deal with the dilemmas of policy implementation is linked to public sector reform over the past 25 years or so. The article differentiates between three forms of discretion, rule, task and value and assesses the extent to which these different forms of discretion have been compromised by reform. Examples are drawn principally from the literature on school teachers and social workers

Findings

The findings suggest that the rule‐making (hence bureaucratic) capacity of professionals at street‐level is much less influential than before although it is questionable whether or not the greater accountability of professionals to management and clarity of the targets and objectives of organisations delivering public policy has liberated them from the dilemmas of street‐level bureaucracy.

Research limitations/implications

The work has focussed on the UK and in particular on two professions. However, it may be applied to any country which has undergone public sector reform and in particular where “new public management” processes and procedures have been implemented. There is scope for in‐depth studies of a range of occupations, professional and otherwise in the UK and elsewhere.

Practical implications

Policy makers and managers should consider how far the positive aspects of facilitating discretion in the workplace by reducing the need for “rule‐making” to cope with dilemmas have been outweighed by increased levels of bureaucracy and the “de‐skilling” of professionals.

Originality/value

Lipsky's much cited and influential work is evaluated in the light of public sector reform some 25 years since it was published. The three forms of discretion identified offer the scope for their systematic application to the workplace.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 19 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article

Md Morshed Alom

The purpose of this paper is to provide a model that demonstrates how some organizational factors are linked to the proactive transparency behavior and outward…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a model that demonstrates how some organizational factors are linked to the proactive transparency behavior and outward accountability orientation of frontline public bureaucracies.

Design/methodology/approach

The model is developed on the basis of literature review.

Findings

It is shown in the model that some dimensions of organizational culture are linked to the “value for proactive transparency,” which, in turn, is linked to the “proactive transparency behavior” of frontline public bureaucracies. The proactive transparency behavior is also influenced by organizational structure and organizational endowment. Finally, the proactive transparency behavior determines “outward accountability” orientation.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the understanding of the frontline public bureaucracy’s transparency behavior and outward accountability orientation from the perspective of organizational factors such as culture, structure, and endowment.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 67 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Article

Geraldo Flowers, Delia Kundin and Ralph S. Brower

This paper examines how administrators in two very different Florida state agencies implemented performance-based program budgeting. It identifies the key organizational…

Abstract

This paper examines how administrators in two very different Florida state agencies implemented performance-based program budgeting. It identifies the key organizational conditions that facilitate and inhibit implemen-tation and propose implications for generalizing these observations to other settings. The study concludes that agency variables make implementation much more difficult in some settings and that a one-size-fits-all approach may contribute to a variety of delays and conflicts in the implementation process.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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Article

John Storm Pedersen and Adrian Wilkinson

The purpose of this paper is to: first, explain why a new model of the provision of welfare services to citizens arises from the digital society; second explore some core…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to: first, explain why a new model of the provision of welfare services to citizens arises from the digital society; second explore some core elements of the competition between the new model of the provision of welfare services and the classic ideal model of the professionals’ provision of welfare services; third, suggest why it is most likely that the two models of the provision of services are combined into a symbiotic co-evolution scenario; and fourth, examine why and how this symbiotic co-evolution scenario results in new participatory spaces for the main actors associated with the provision of welfare services.

Design/methodology/approach

The review of the literature examines how the new model for the provision of welfare services facilitated by big data challenges the traditional professional model for the provision of welfare services. The authors use the Danish case to illustrate a number of themes related to this looking at the hospital sector as an example.

Findings

The proposition is that a symbiotic co-evolution scenario will emerge. A mix of the classic ideal model and practice of the service professionals’ provision of services and the digital society’s model of the provision of services is the most likely scenario in the years to come. Furthermore, Data-driven management (DDM) as an integrated key element in a symbiotic co-evolution creates (opens up) participatory environments and spaces for the main actors and agents associated with the provision of welfare services to the citizens.

Research limitations/implications

DDM’s impact on the provision of welfare services is still being realised and worked out, and more empirical research is needed before it is possible to point at the most likely scenario. However, according to the authors’ analytical framework, the institutional logics perspective, as presented in Section 2, a symbiotic co-evolution is most likely such that DDM will constitute a new logic within the provision of welfare services on the basis of which citizens as end-users could be provided with welfare services, but it is not likely that the new logic of DDM can displace the classic service professionals’ model of the provision of welfare services. Therefore, the new logic of DDM will be combined with and integrated into the existing logics within service provision, such as the Weberian bureaucracy, the Street-Level Bureaucracy, the New Public Governance and the Market. In spite of this, DDM can successfully be promoted by international management consulting firms, as a management concept which can remedy all the problems of the classic service professionals’ model of the provision of welfare services to citizens.

Practical implications

As a consequence of this, new relationships among professionals, data analytics, (middle) managers and citizens will be created regarding the provision of welfare services. Considering the new participatory environments and spaces and the new relationships among the classic service professionals, the data analytics, the (middle) managers and the citizens as end-users, the provision of welfare services may become an arena for negotiation of a new future model of the provision of welfare services to citizens.

Originality/value

The digital society has emerged from and developed further via: digitising, online information in almost real time, algorithms, data-informed decision-making processes, DDM and, ultimately, big data. The authors expect to see further digitising, more sophisticated algorithms and more big data. The authors suggest that a new model of the provision of welfare services to citizens will emerge from the development of the digital society. The authors also suggest that this new model will compete with the classic model of the provision of welfare services.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 38 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Abstract

Title

A messy picture.

Subject area

Human resource management, business ethics, public policy.

Study level/applicability

The case can also be taught in MBA/postgraduate in management programmes in general management or HR classes to give a lesson in organizational conflict and resolution, negotiation skills (strategies, tactics and power in negotiation) towards the middle or end of the course. The course can also be taught in MBA/postgraduate in management programmes in business ethics classes to make students appreciate the various approaches to ethics – end-results, duty, social contract and personalistic ethics. It also helps students learn how to institute ethics into the cultural fabric of the organization. In public policy programmes, it could be taught to illustrate the crucial role and at times unintended outcomes of actions of street level bureaucracies in policy implementation. The course can also be taught in refresher training programmes for executives to give lessons in conflict management, mediation strategies, union negotiations and ethics.

Case overview

This teaching case is based on a real incident that took place in a defence production factory of India in the year 2009. It succinctly unfolds a small showdown between two officers that acquires a disproportionate size and explosive dimension and vitiates the environment of the entire organization. The case is a narration of a small row that in no time became a full-blown organizational dispute with layers of issues. Two officers, one very senior and the other influential, got entangled in a conflict, unfortunately in the presence of a large audience; dissatisfied workers and officers fanned the sentiments and encouraged them to unethically leverage legal privileges by gaming in the name of caste and sexual harassment to gain power in the messy dispute. The protagonist Ram Sharma, the General Manager (head) of the factory, is in a precarious situation as the conflict not only puts his managerial skills but also his moral standards and ethics to test.

Expected learning outcomes

After discussion and analysis of this case, the students should be able to: appreciate and evaluate the complexities and multiple facets of an organizational conflict including ethical challenges faced in a real life situation, recommend the options and course of action a manager could resort to in a high stake and time bound situation, learn to develop a basic framework for analysing, negotiations and strategize to resolve a conflict as a manager-mediator in such a situation, learn to handle difficult negotiation bound by complexities of unethical and legal disputes, answer to themselves the criticality of ground level bureaucracy ' s role in implementation of public policies (optional if the faculty decides to discuss the part provided in the teaching note). For international students, this is a case to learn dynamics of “negotiations in Indian context”. Overall development of critical thinking and analytical skills.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only. Please contact your library to gain login details or email support@emeraldinsight.com to request teaching notes.

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 3 no. 8
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

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Book part

Halvard Vike

In Michael Lipsky’s intriguing analysis of the performance of public bureaucracy – in his classic Street-level Bureaucracy (1980) – he shows, for example, the professional…

Abstract

In Michael Lipsky’s intriguing analysis of the performance of public bureaucracy – in his classic Street-level Bureaucracy (1980) – he shows, for example, the professional discretion they apply may not only involve adapting policy to the individual case, meet real needs in the population, prevent patients, clients, students or users from getting access, etc., but at the same time both have profound policy implications and take very ‘political’ forms. In this chapter, I argue that it is regrettable that Lipsky did not establish a comparative framework for his study. Based on my own ethnographic research in local politics and bureaucratic practice in the municipal world in Norway, I look more closely at the relative autonomy of street-level bureaucracy within the context of universalism – a hallmark of the Nordic welfare state model (Esping-Andersen 1998, 2009) – and explore how it is utilised. The Nordic welfare states are among the most ‘service intense’ states in the Western world, and the personnel working directly with patients, students, clients, etc., play a major role in linking ‘the state’ to the population (Papakostas, 2001, Vike et al., 2002). Thus, the role of the Nordic welfare state’s street-level bureaucracy as a key interface between the state and the population is hard to overestimate (Leira & Sainsbury, 1994). Moreover, as universalism also tends to stimulate what we may call a culture of strong claims (to services) among the population at large, street-level bureaucrats may be able to form strong alliances with other actors, and thus play an important part of the dynamics of power in local politics – where fundamental policy principles such as universalism is at stake.

Details

Bureaucracy and Society in Transition
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-283-3

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Article

Kathleen A. McGinn

This article uses Michel Foucaultʼs theoretical work in examining relations of power within the unique context of street-level bureaucracies (Lipsky, 1980). Through…

Abstract

This article uses Michel Foucaultʼs theoretical work in examining relations of power within the unique context of street-level bureaucracies (Lipsky, 1980). Through Foucaultʼs techniques of discipline (1995), it analyzes how employees and managers are both objectified and selfproduced within collective bargaining agreements from street level organizations. Findings show that ‘managers’, ‘employees’ and ‘union representatives’ are produced but also constrained within these documents. These collective bargaining agreements also serve to ‘fix’ relationships discursively affirmed as unequal. Constrained by this ‘reality’, any potential for changing relationships between managers and employees through prescriptions that ask street-level bureaucrats to be ‘leaders’; “responsible choice-makers” (Vinzant & Crothers, 1998, p. 154) rather than policy implementers simply carrying out management directives are largely futile.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Article

Harish P. Jagannath

To examine the implementation processes and outcomes of collaborative governance initiatives through the lens of bureaucratic politics.

Abstract

Purpose

To examine the implementation processes and outcomes of collaborative governance initiatives through the lens of bureaucratic politics.

Design/methodology/approach

An in-depth single case study research design with 28 embedded cases to study the implementation of a collaborative governance initiative. This paper uses the analytical technique of process tracing to explicate necessary and sufficient conditions to uncover causal mechanisms and confirm descriptive and causal inferences.

Findings

This study finds that when street-level bureaucrats perceived the collaborative initiative as a health intervention (and not as a collaborative initiative), it resulted in low levels of stakeholder participation and made the collaborative initiative unsuccessful. This paper finds that bureaucratic politics is the causal mechanism that further legitimized this perception resulting in each stakeholder group avoiding participation and sticking to their departmental siloes.

Research limitations/implications

This is a single case study about a revelatory case of collaborative governance implementation in India, and findings are analytically generalizable to similar administrative contexts. Further research is needed through a multiple case study design in a comparative context to examine bureaucratic politics in implementing collaborative initiatives.

Practical implications

Policymakers and managers need to carefully consider the implications of engaging organizations with competing institutional histories when formulating and implementing collaborative governance initiatives.

Originality/value

This study's uniqueness is that it examines implementation of collaborative governance through a bureaucratic politics lens. Specifically, the study applies Western-centric scholarship on collaborative governance and street-level bureaucracy to a non-Western developing country context to push the theoretical and empirical boundaries of key concepts in public administration.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 33 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Article

Peter Nugus, Geetha Ranmuthugala, Josianne Lamothe, David Greenfield, Joanne Travaglia, Kendall Kolne, Julia Kryluk and Jeffrey Braithwaite

Health service effectiveness continues to be limited by misaligned objectives between policy makers and frontline clinicians. While capturing the discretion workers…

Abstract

Purpose

Health service effectiveness continues to be limited by misaligned objectives between policy makers and frontline clinicians. While capturing the discretion workers inevitably exercise, the concept of “street-level bureaucracy” has tended to artificially separate policy makers and workers. The purpose of this paper is to understand the role of social-organizational context in aligning policy with practice.

Design/methodology/approach

This mixed-method participatory study focuses on a locally developed tool to implement an Australia-wide strategy to engage and respond to mental health services for parents with mental illness. Researchers: completed 69 client file audits; administered 64 staff surveys; conducted 24 interviews and focus groups (64 participants) with staff and a consumer representative; and observed eight staff meetings, in an acute and sub-acute mental health unit. Data were analyzed using content analysis, thematic analysis and descriptive statistics.

Findings

Based on successes and shortcomings of the implementation (assessment completed for only 30 percent of clients), a model of integration is presented, distinguishing “assimilist” from “externalist” positions. These depend on the degree to which, and how, the work environment affords clinicians the setting to coordinate efforts to take account of clients’ personal and social needs. This was particularly so for allied health clinicians and nurses undertaking sub-acute rehabilitative-transitional work.

Originality/value

A new conceptualization of street-level bureaucracy is offered. Rather than as disconnected, it is a process of mutual influence among interdependent actors. This positioning can serve as a framework to evaluate how and under what circumstances discretion is appropriate, and to be supported by managers and policy makers to optimize client-defined needs.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 32 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

Keywords

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