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Inspecting environmental management from within: The role of street-level bureaucrats in environmental policy implementation

Journal article
Authors M. Seva
Sverker C. Jagers
Published in Journal of Environmental Management
Volume 128
Pages 1060-1070
ISSN 0301-4797
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 1060-1070
Language en
Keywords Management, Street-level bureaucrats, Discretion, Governing, Natural resource management, DISCRETION, COMANAGEMENT, REGULATIONS, PERFORMANCE, GOVERNANCE, ATTITUDES, NETWORKS, AUTONOMY, POLITICS, INDUSTRY, AN TJ, 1995, ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT JOURNAL, V38, P288
Subject categories Political Science


In this paper, we assert that an important element is largely missing in much of the current environmental policy literature regarding different management ideals: street-level bureaucrats (i.e., the practicing and, typically, anonymous civil servants at the very end of the environmental policy chain). Thus, we aim to enhance a deeper understanding of the role that street-level bureaucrats play within different management ideals, and through this discussion, we indicate how they affect the functionality of governing structures and processes. We do so by interviewing street-level bureaucrats carrying out their role in different management settings, enabling evaluations of the degree to which their practices correspond with the ideals expressed in the literature and in official directives. We find a rather poor match between these ideals on one hand and the way street-level bureaucrats actually perceive that they are internally steered and how they carry out their commissions on the other hand. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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