Purpose:This study aims to investigate the role of relational asymmetries in influencing the coping strategies adopted by frontline workers to deal with the policy-client role conflict. Design/methodology/approach: A comparative analysis of three different services highlights the role of the service relationships characteristics in explaining similarities and differences in the strategies adopted by street-level bureaucrats (SLBs). The research is based on the secondary analysis of three case studies conducted in Italy: the reception system for homeless people, the job brokerage service in the public employment service and the dispute settlement procedure in the labour inspectorate. Findings: The results underline the interaction between the characteristics of the service relationship and the different coping strategies adopted to deal with the policy-client conflict. Originality/value-The contribution of this study is threefold. Firstly, the authors focus on the influence of the characteristics of the service relationship in terms of agency resources over SLBs' strategies to face with users' expectations. Secondly, the authors intend to discuss these issues analysing SLBs not only as agents with individual preferences. Thirdly, the research design allows the authors to return to the street-level bureaucracy theory its comparative essence, proposing a comparative strategy with an explorative intent.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY & SOCIAL POLICY|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|
- policy-client conflict
- public policy
- qualitative methodology
- street-level bureaucracy