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Understanding street-level bureaucracy$
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Peter Hupe, Peter Hupe, Michael Hill, and Aurèlien Buffat

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447313267

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447313267.001.0001

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Professionals and discretion in street-level bureaucracy

Professionals and discretion in street-level bureaucracy

(p.279) Sixteen Professionals and discretion in street-level bureaucracy
Understanding street-level bureaucracy

Tony Evans

Policy Press

The focus of the chapter is a critical examination of Lipsky’s analysis of discretion in Street-level Bureaucracy. The chapter highlights the value of Street-level Bureaucracy as a critique of the ability of modern management to fully control front-line discretion. It argues, however, that Lipsky pays insufficient attention both to the role of professionalism in understanding the construction and deployment of front-line discretion, and to the discretion of managers as the new elite professionals within welfare organisations. The chapter also examines the analysis of what motivates front-line workers and managers in Street-level Bureaucracy and concludes with a call for a more nuanced and grounded evaluation of discretion and policy implementation, arguing that consideration of front-line discretion should be complemented by the examination of the extensive discretion of professional managers.

Keywords:   management, professionalism, motivation, client-processing

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