Street-Level Bureaucracy

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  • Edition: 30th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 5/1/2010
  • Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

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First published in 1980, Street-Level Bureaucracy received critical acclaim for its insightful study of how public service workers, wielding considerable discretion in how to execute their jobs, function as policy decisionmakers. Three decades later, public urgency to bolster the availability and effectiveness of healthcare, social services, education, and law enforcement has intensified, making Street-Level Bureaucracy more relevant now than ever. In this thirtieth anniversary expanded edition, Michael Lipsky revisits the territory he mapped out in the first edition to reflect on significant policy developments and show that street-level bureaucracies can be improved and work in public service fields can be rewarding.

Table of Contents

Preface: Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Servicesp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xxi
The Critical Role of Street-Level Bureaucratsp. 3
Conflict over the scope and substance of public servicesp. 4
Conflict over interactions with citizensp. 8
Street-Level Bureaucrats as Policy Makersp. 13
Discretionp. 13
Relative Autonomy from Organizational Authorityp. 16
Differences Between Street-Level Bureaucrats and Managersp. 18
Resources for Resistancep. 23
Conditions of Work
Introductionp. 27
The Problem of Resourcesp. 29
Demand and Supply, or Why Resources are Usually Inadequate in Street-Level Bureaucraciesp. 33
Goals and Performance Measuresp. 40
Goalsp. 40
Performance Measuresp. 48
Relations with Clientsp. 54
Nonvoluntary Clientsp. 54
Conflict, Reciprocity, and Controlp. 57
The Social Construction of a Clientp. 59
Advocacy and Alienation in Street-Level Workp. 71
Advocacyp. 72
Alienationp. 75
Implications of Alienationp. 79
Patterns of Practice
Introductionp. 81
Rationing Services: Limitation of Access and Demandp. 87
The Costs of Servicep. 88
Queuingp. 95
Routines and Rationingp. 99
Rationing Services: Inequality in Administrationp. 105
A Comment on the Ubiquity of Biasp. 111
Controlling Clients and the Work Situationp. 117
Husbanding Resourcesp. 125
Managing the Consequences of Routine Practicep. 133
The Client-Processing Mentalityp. 140
Modifications of Conceptions of Workp. 142
Modifications of Conceptions of Clientsp. 151
The Future of Street-Level Bureaucracy
The Assault on Human Services: Bureaucratic Control, Accountability, and the Fiscal Crisisp. 159
Holding Workers to Agency Objectivesp. 162
Accountability and Productivityp. 170
Street-Level Bureaucrats and the Fiscal Crisisp. 172
The Broader Context of Bureaucratic Relationsp. 180
Contradictory Tendencies in Street-Level Bureaucratic Relationsp. 188
Support for Human Services: Notes for Reform and Reconstructionp. 192
Directions for Greater Client Autonomyp. 193
Directions for Current Practicep. 196
The Prospects and Problems of Professionalismp. 201
Keeping New Professionals Newp. 204
On Managing Street-Level Bureaucracyp. 212
An Evolving Policy Environment for Street-Level Bureaucracyp. 212
Shaping Street-Level Bureaucrats' Performancep. 221
Investing in Street-Level Bureaucratsp. 229
Conclusionp. 236
Notesp. 239
Indexp. 267
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