Street-Level Leadership: Discretion and Legitimacy in Front-Line Public Service
by Janet V. Denhardt and Austin Lane Crothers
Georgetown University Press, 1998
Paper: 978-0-87840-705-7
Library of Congress Classification HV40.V56 1998
Dewey Decimal Classification 361.00684

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS
ABOUT THIS BOOK

Examining public service from the perspective of the worker, this book provides a new framework for understanding the roles and responsibilities of front-line public servants and assessing the appropriateness of their actions.

Public employees who work at street level face some of the most intractable, pervasive, and complex problems in contemporary society. Drawing on more than 1500 hours of observation of police officers and social service workers in four states, this book explores the types of situations they confront, the factors they consider, and the hard choices they make. Presenting numerous cases of how these individuals acted in various situations, the authors show how public servants translate the expectations of administrators and others into legitimate street-level action.

Vinzant and Crothers propose the concept of leadership as a positive and realistic framework for understanding what these public servants do and how they can successfully meet the daily challenges of their very difficult and complex jobs. They show how changing the theory and language we use to describe street-level work can encourage decisions that are responsive both to the needs of the clients being served and to the broader community's need for accountability. They also examine how street-level leadership can change the way agencies recruit, train, and manage these employees and how society defines their role in governance.

This book offers valuable insights for those working in or studying public administration, policy analysis, criminal justice, and social work.


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