Interactive policy processes: A challenge for street-level bureaucrats

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Street-level bureaucrats (SLB) play a crucial role in ensuring better policy implementa- tion and generating trust between the system and citizens, according to the literature. In this article, we argue that Lipsky’s distinction between public managers and SLB needs an update. Today, public managers are increasingly expected to work closely and directly with affected stakeholders in order to solve cross-cutting ‘wicked problems’. Interactive and participative collaborative policy processes require public managers to move from back-office work to front-office work, in effect converting public managers into SLB. The key question raised is, thus: what kind of skills and capabilities do SLB need to engage in today’s more interactive forms of public policy-making? And what are the implications for how universities educate these groups?’ Drawing on a study of 32 urban professionals who work on the frontline in deprived neighbourhoods, we scrutinise the challenges and dilemmas that professionals face in their work with interactive processes. By distinguishing between ‘academic specialists’ and ‘academic generalists’, we are able to pinpoint and differentiate between skills needed for each of these groups in order to secure transparent processes that abide by the rule of law and support well-functioning local communities and, more broadly, the skills needed to secure democracy and econom- ic efficiency.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Administration
Volume22
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)89-108
Number of pages20
ISSN2001-7405
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2018

Keywords

  • street-level bureaucrats
  • skills
  • capacities

Cite this

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title = "Interactive policy processes: A challenge for street-level bureaucrats",
abstract = "Street-level bureaucrats (SLB) play a crucial role in ensuring better policy implementa- tion and generating trust between the system and citizens, according to the literature. In this article, we argue that Lipsky’s distinction between public managers and SLB needs an update. Today, public managers are increasingly expected to work closely and directly with affected stakeholders in order to solve cross-cutting ‘wicked problems’. Interactive and participative collaborative policy processes require public managers to move from back-office work to front-office work, in effect converting public managers into SLB. The key question raised is, thus: what kind of skills and capabilities do SLB need to engage in today’s more interactive forms of public policy-making? And what are the implications for how universities educate these groups?’ Drawing on a study of 32 urban professionals who work on the frontline in deprived neighbourhoods, we scrutinise the challenges and dilemmas that professionals face in their work with interactive processes. By distinguishing between ‘academic specialists’ and ‘academic generalists’, we are able to pinpoint and differentiate between skills needed for each of these groups in order to secure transparent processes that abide by the rule of law and support well-functioning local communities and, more broadly, the skills needed to secure democracy and econom- ic efficiency.",
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Interactive policy processes : A challenge for street-level bureaucrats. / Agger, Annika; Damgaard, Bodil.

In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 22, No. 3, 23.03.2018, p. 89-108.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Interactive policy processes

T2 - A challenge for street-level bureaucrats

AU - Agger, Annika

AU - Damgaard, Bodil

PY - 2018/3/23

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N2 - Street-level bureaucrats (SLB) play a crucial role in ensuring better policy implementa- tion and generating trust between the system and citizens, according to the literature. In this article, we argue that Lipsky’s distinction between public managers and SLB needs an update. Today, public managers are increasingly expected to work closely and directly with affected stakeholders in order to solve cross-cutting ‘wicked problems’. Interactive and participative collaborative policy processes require public managers to move from back-office work to front-office work, in effect converting public managers into SLB. The key question raised is, thus: what kind of skills and capabilities do SLB need to engage in today’s more interactive forms of public policy-making? And what are the implications for how universities educate these groups?’ Drawing on a study of 32 urban professionals who work on the frontline in deprived neighbourhoods, we scrutinise the challenges and dilemmas that professionals face in their work with interactive processes. By distinguishing between ‘academic specialists’ and ‘academic generalists’, we are able to pinpoint and differentiate between skills needed for each of these groups in order to secure transparent processes that abide by the rule of law and support well-functioning local communities and, more broadly, the skills needed to secure democracy and econom- ic efficiency.

AB - Street-level bureaucrats (SLB) play a crucial role in ensuring better policy implementa- tion and generating trust between the system and citizens, according to the literature. In this article, we argue that Lipsky’s distinction between public managers and SLB needs an update. Today, public managers are increasingly expected to work closely and directly with affected stakeholders in order to solve cross-cutting ‘wicked problems’. Interactive and participative collaborative policy processes require public managers to move from back-office work to front-office work, in effect converting public managers into SLB. The key question raised is, thus: what kind of skills and capabilities do SLB need to engage in today’s more interactive forms of public policy-making? And what are the implications for how universities educate these groups?’ Drawing on a study of 32 urban professionals who work on the frontline in deprived neighbourhoods, we scrutinise the challenges and dilemmas that professionals face in their work with interactive processes. By distinguishing between ‘academic specialists’ and ‘academic generalists’, we are able to pinpoint and differentiate between skills needed for each of these groups in order to secure transparent processes that abide by the rule of law and support well-functioning local communities and, more broadly, the skills needed to secure democracy and econom- ic efficiency.

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