The Ground Floor of Government in Context
Edited by Peter Hupe
Central in this chapter is the issue of how to compare public task performance. The authors argue that comparative studies of street-level bureaucracy can best be advanced through recognition of the tiered character of the relevant independent variables and by developing approaches to the explanation of the interactions between them. Making use of the three hypotheses about what may matter and how, as discussed in Chapter 17, may be helpful then. The conclusion is that all three – respectively, work setting, motivation and control – ‘matter’. However, the how and scope of that ‘mattering’ can only be analysed in the context at hand. The extent to which any of the three hypotheses contributes to the explanation of variation in public task performance will depend on the nature of that particular (institutional) environment. Hence, there is a need to work through the ways variables are to be defined in concrete contexts.
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