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.
Tanja Klenk and Nissim Cohen
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.