The art of exerting professionalism and processes: Capacity building among street level bureaucrats

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Street-level bureaucrats are often granted a crucial role in many of the new discourses of co-production and novel modes of mobilizing citizens in relation to collective welfare production. This is seen in recent studies of implementation research (Winter 2002) where the quality of interaction between front-line staff citizens influences the degree to which policies are implemented. Although, the scholarly literature is rich in describing new profiles and skills for public administrators such as boundary spanners (Williams), deliberative practitioners (Forester) and inside activists (Olson 2009) then little is known about the tensions and challenges that can occur when they have to navigate between competing institutional logics and citizens and stakeholders with opposing interests. While we welcome a more specific focus on generating capabilities to facilitate processes that aim to ensure inclusion and participation by needed and engaged actors (Smith, 2009; Skelcher and Torfing, 2010), we are also concerned that professional knowledge is downplayed in these participatory arenas, constructed, facilitated – and often dominated – by academic generalists. The aim of this article is therefore to discuss what kind of skills and capabilities are needed in these more inter-active encounters and what are the consequences for how universities educate these groups.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date21 Jun 2017
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2017
Event2nd Conference on Street-level Research in the Employment and Social Policy Area - Aalborg Universitet Sydhavnen, København, Denmark
Duration: 21 Jun 201722 Jun 2017
Conference number: 2


Conference2nd Conference on Street-level Research in the Employment and Social Policy Area
LocationAalborg Universitet Sydhavnen
OtherGathering some of the most prominent international scholars in the field of street-level research, employment and social polices: Michael Lipsky, Mark Considine, Evelyn Brodkin, Rik Van Berkel & Sharon Wright this conference seeks to advance research in the role of street-level organisations in welfare state politics: - How do street-level organisations mediate policy intentions of active welfare state reforms and the encounter between street-level workers and citizens/client? - How are these practices affected by governance and management reforms? - How does this contribute to the overall macro discussion on welfare state developments?
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