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Steven Rathgeb Smith

In: Handbook of Public Administration

Chapter 28: Street-Level Bureaucracy and Public Policy

Edited by: B. Guy Peters & Jon Pierre


Subject: Public Administration (general)

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Street-Level Bureaucracy and Public Policy
Street-level bureaucracy and public policy

In the past twenty years, a broad rethinking of the principles of public administration and management has been underway. Traditional public management has been criticized as rigid, inflexible, ineffective and unresponsive to the needs of citizens. To restore the legitimacy and effectiveness of government, a ‘New Public Management’ paradigm has been proposed (Behn, 2001; Feldman and Khademian, 2000; Moore, 1995; Osborne and Gaebler, 1992). Central to this New Public Management is an emphasis on performance and outcomes and greater responsive to citizens and their needs. To achieve these goals, attention has been focused in part on directly or indirectly changing the behavior of ‘street-level bureaucrats’ — the front-line workers who serve as the connection between public ...

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