Research Handbook on Street-Level Bureaucracy
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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.
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Chapter 12: Street-level bureaucracy research and first-line supervision

Peter Hupe and Lael R. Keiser


In this chapter the ways that first-line supervision gets attention in street-level bureaucracy research are addressed. The objective is to make connections between existing theoretical-empirical knowledge on public management and street-level bureaucracy. While a robust literature exists on public management generally, it does not look at the ways in which supervisors’ behaviours shape the policies that citizens actually experience. Instead, that literature addresses the links between management and performance, while mostly focusing on managers in higher positions. At the same time, in street-level bureaucracy research explicit attention to first-line supervision has remained limited as well. The chapter shows that first-line managers are major players in policymaking at the street level of government bureaucracy. While managing upward, downward and outward. they fulfil various roles in the policy process.

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