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 14: Policy re-design from the street level

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.

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