You are looking at 1 - 10 of 12 items

  • Author or Editor: Peter Hupe x
Clear All Modify Search
This content is available to you

Edited by Peter Hupe

This content is available to you

Peter Hupe

In this introductory chapter the historical and societal context of the phenomenon street-level bureaucracy receives attention. What kinds of developments in and around the modern state can be observed and how have they shaped the evolution of government bureaucracy at the street level? The rise of the welfare state has led to a variety of public officials working in contact with citizens. Teachers, police officers and other street-level bureaucrats, located on the site where state and society almost literally meet, directly undergo influences from society at large. Macro developments such as the accumulation of public policies, permanent technological innovation and the dynamics of cultural individualism on the ground floor of government have effectively led to an ongoing strain. Over the years, the demands experienced there seem to have multiplied rather than diminished. This makes it relevant to explore the impact of such influences.

You do not have access to this content

Peter Hupe

This chapter offers an exploration of the ways in which street-level bureaucracy has been approached theoretically so far, especially in its relationship with factors identified as exercising influence. How can what happens at the street level of government bureaucracy be conceptualized as positioned in its environment? The chapter places approaches to street-level bureaucracy research within the trinity of governing, a comprehensive analytical framework. Some forms of reductionism are identified as apparent in the existing literature. It is underlined that researchers cannot escape from some form of reduction. This being so, when understanding and explaining social reality via empirical research, functional rather than a priori reductionism is preferable. This implies that variables are chosen as expressing expected relationships with an eye on what needs explanation. The implications of the various forms of reductionist explanations are elaborated further in Chapter 17.

You do not have access to this content

Peter Hupe

How can the expected relationships between what happens at the street level of government bureaucracy and its environment be grounded theoretically? The argument unfolded in this chapter maximizes the heuristic functions of the trinity of governing framework as set out in Chapter 3. In that chapter, a range of ‘multi-level’ approaches were identified. Following up on that exposition, three major types of approaches are highlighted. From each a central hypothesis is derived by making their implicit explanatory claims explicit. The hypotheses focus around, respectively, the impact of similar work circumstances, the difference individual actors make and the reach of hierarchy. Structuring the variety of relevant variables in this way draws attention to questions about the relative weight of factors deemed relevant when trying to position the street level within ‘the bigger picture’.

You do not have access to this content

Peter Hupe

This chapter contains insights and lessons based on short descriptions of the arguments developed in the preceding chapters of the Handbook. The knowledge and insights gained are explored while focusing on the arguments unfolded in the respective chapters as directly as possible. The structure of the successive chapter sections parallels the structure of the Handbook, starting with three ‘axiomatic insights’ gained about the state of the field overall as addressed in the first part of the book. Next, 25 lessons have been formulated, drawn from the other parts of the book, including in particular theoretical and methodological issues.

You do not have access to this content

Peter Hupe

This chapter provides reflections on some pertinent issues and an agenda for future research. First, the empirical object of the study of street-level bureaucracy is restated. What can be said now about the question ‘who are these street-level bureaucrats’ and what does this mean for further research? Next, the issues of scope and generalization are revisited. In what directions can appropriate links be made to knowledge and insights from beyond the field of street-level bureaucracy research? And how can generalization capture ‘the bigger picture’? After reflections on these issues and their implications for a research strategy, the substance of a future research agenda is addressed. The relations between the state of the art and the (meta) developments identified point to the need for more empirical and comparative approaches to both accountability and professionalism.

You do not have access to this content

Research Handbook on Street-Level Bureaucracy

The Ground Floor of Government in Context

Edited by Peter Hupe

When the objectives of public policy programmes have been formulated and decided upon, implementation seems just a matter of following instructions. However, it is underway to the realization of those objectives that public policies get their final substance and form. Crucial is what happens in and around the encounter between public officials and individual citizens at the street level of government bureaucracy. This Research Handbook addresses the state of the art while providing a systematic exploration of the theoretical and methodological issues apparent in the study of street-level bureaucracy and how to deal with them.
You do not have access to this content

Peter Hupe

When people use the word ‘implementation’ they may refer to a task for others. On the other hand, people from whom such subsequent action is expected may see their task as anything but the ‘implementation’ of the plans of others. In policy processes both contrasting views, implementation as following instructions and implementation as continuous practice, can be observed. Despite development in terms of methodological rigour and the availability of comprehensive explanatory approaches, in implementation research the two views have not merged into a broadly accepted, ‘synthesized’ approach. The view of implementation as practice may explain more, certainly when the ‘policy politics’ concerned is taken into account. At the same time the alternative view remains attractive in terms of democratic accountability. Because each has an appeal in its own right, the two views of implementation can be expected to continue their co-existence side by side.

You do not have access to this content

Peter L. Hupe

You do not have access to this content

Peter Hupe and Michael Hill

In this chapter street-level bureaucracy is considered as a field of scholarly inquiry positioned within the broader study of the policy process and policy implementation. Given the development of the study of government-in-action, what kinds of insights have been gained and how can the state of knowledge be characterized? Street-level bureaucracy as a scholarly theme of its own is the result of an ongoing process of academic differentiation and specialization. More or less parallel with the first top-down implementation studies, scholars asked attention about what, in contrast, happens at the bottom of public administration. The later plea for synthesizing approaches so far has not led to one, generally adopted, grand implementation theory. Against this background some aspects of collected thought on the policy process, implementation and street-level bureaucracy are highlighted as general points to be kept in mind – or pitfalls to be avoided – when doing research on government-in-action.