The performance and development of deliberative routines: A practice-based ethnographic study

E. Lianne Visser, Merlijn van Hulst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Deliberation is ubiquitous in street-level work. Scholars and practitioners increasingly promote it, as it has the potential to improve existing practices and procedures and provide customized, yet consistent, services. Little is known, however, about the situated performance of deliberation in street-level work. Drawing on Routine Dynamics Theory and based on an ethnographic study of street-level decision-making in child and family services in the Netherlands (including document analysis, ~300 hours of observations and interviews in two teams in one organization), we uncover the performance of deliberative routines and their development over time. Demonstrating how contextual factors and the prioritization of particular ends play a role in these routines, we contribute to a better understanding of the dynamic and reflective performance of street-level deliberation. In addition, providing a more nuanced view of routines and elaborating on some possibilities for enabling management thereof, we contribute to a better understanding of the complex and iterative organization of street-level work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-104
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • street-level bureaucracy
  • practices
  • ethnography
  • Deliberation
  • routines

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