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Nissim Cohen

Policy entrepreneurs are individuals who exploit opportunities to influence policy outcomes to increase their self-interests – without having the necessary resources required for achieving this goal alone. They are not satisfied with merely promoting their self-interests within institutions that others have established. Rather, they try to influence a given reality to create new horizons of opportunity using innovative ideas and strategies. While agenda setting is not the only element of policy entrepreneurship, it is perhaps the most crucial and important stage in the process of policy entrepreneurship; one that involves translating ideas into feasible policies. Given that agenda setting is the basis for any change in public policy, establishing a solid agenda that has a reasonable chance of succeeding is crucial in determining whether or not the entrepreneur can proceed to the next step: investing resources to promote and ultimately change public policy. Successful policy entrepreneurs invest a great deal of effort in garnering attention for their proposed policies. Defining problems and placing their proposed solutions to them on the political agenda are among the main challenges policy entrepreneurs face. Nevertheless, even when they are successful in these endeavors, experienced policy entrepreneurs know that they must keep up the pressure to formulate policies in the direction they desire, legitimize them, facilitate their implementation and promote their evaluation. In order to provide a better grounding for policy entrepreneurs and agenda setting, we began by outlining the history and intellectual development of the concept of policy entrepreneurship. Next, we present a categorization of the characteristics, strategies and motivations of policy entrepreneurs. Finally, we focus on public entrepreneurs and agenda setting.

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Tanja Klenk and Nissim Cohen

As a result of several waves of public sector reforms, street-level bureaucrats have to cope with an increasingly hybrid working environment. New governance models have been layered on top of already existing models: ideas of privatized and managerialized service delivery, grounded in the New Public Management paradigm, co-exist with ideas of collaboration and co-production featured by the New Public Governance model. Thus, street-level bureaucrats are confronted with conflicting and often contradictory values and rationalities in their working environment. This chapter explores the implications this increasing ambiguity has for the conceptualization and research of street-level bureaucracy and suggests studying street-level bureaucracy through the analytical lens of a hybridity approach. The main argument put forward is that typologies and frameworks developed in this strand of literature allow us to disentangle hybridity, to better capture the divergence of the responses of street-level bureaucrats towards institutional pluralism and to understand variation in policy outcomes.

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Nissim Cohen and Tanja Klenk

Is it possible for street-level bureaucrats to use entrepreneurial strategies not only to improve the implementation of existing policy but also to directly influence the design of public policy? And if so, what does this mean for street-level bureaucracy research? These questions are at the heart of this chapter. In order to reveal if and how street-level bureaucrats use strategies to influence the design of the policy, the authors utilize scholarly insights about policy entrepreneurship. Policy entrepreneurs try to influence a given policy as stated in an official document by using innovative ideas and strategies. Existing studies indeed have demonstrated that street-level bureaucrats can become policy entrepreneurs. It has generally been assumed that street-level bureaucrats are using entrepreneurial actions in their implementation of policy while thereby affecting its outcomes, but that others have shaped the policy. In this chapter, however, the authors demonstrate how street-level bureaucrats use entrepreneurial strategies to influence the design of the policy as well. They discuss the implications of this involvement of street-level bureaucrats for the study of what they do.