Monday, 27 February 2017

Going the Extra Mile? How Street-level Bureaucrats Deal with the Integration of Immigrants

an article by Warda Belabas (Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands) and Lasse Gerrits (Otto Friedrich University, Bamberg, Germany)published in Social Policy & Administration Volume 51 Number 1 (January 2017)


Dutch immigration and integration policies are being interpreted and implemented by local street-level bureaucrats.

We carried out 28 semi-structured interviews with integration coaches, integration teachers and client managers in order to understand the dilemmas they face, and to explain their subsequent behaviour.

The results show that although organizational characteristics such as the bureaucratic burden made street-level bureaucrats reluctant to enlarge their discretionary space at the expense of policy rules, their willingness to help clients often transcends these boundaries under a combination of three conditions: high client motivation, extreme personal distress of the client, and negative assessment of existing policies and policy instruments (both in terms of fairness and practicality).

Furthermore, street-level bureaucrats were found to be constantly reinterpreting and revising their roles.

Full text (PDF)

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