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The decisive role of street-level bureaucrats in environmental management
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Social Sciences.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Humanity faces dire challenges associated with environmental degradation.Policy makers try to curb these problems with various policies andmanagement strategies. Some strategies are successful, yet too often, othersfail to meet their overall objectives. Scholars in the field of environmentalmanagement have suggested several explanations as to why environmentalpolicy fails to address environmental concerns. In this thesis, I take my pointof departure in a neglected theoretical component in environmentalmanagement research, namely the decisive role of street-level bureaucrats, i.e.bureaucrats working at the end of the policy chain, making operationaldecisions and taking action based on official policy. The aim of the thesis is tohighlight the significant role of street-level bureaucrats in the implementationof environmental policy and to examine which factors that can explain theirdecisions. In order to fulfil this aim, a tentative theoretical frameworkencompassing four explanatory factors – management setting, policyunderstanding, implementation resources and policy beliefs – is developed. Aqualitative case study approach is utilised in an attempt to empiricallyexamine how these factors influence decision-making and implementation atthe street level. Data is collected by means of semi-structured interviews with40 street-level bureaucrats working in the fields of fishery and water policyrespectively. The results from the empirical studies are used to refine thesuggested tentative theoretical framework and propose a more refinedframework that can explain street-level bureaucrats’ implementation ofofficial policy. The findings suggest that different management settings seemto affect – more or less – street-level bureaucrats’ autonomy and discretion.Moreover, bureaucrats’ policy understandings, in particular their notionsconcerning policy coherence, affect their decision-making. The results alsoimply that the characteristics of bureaucrats’ implementation resources, i.e.the actors to whom they turn for policy advice, influence implementation.Finally, differences in the implementation of environmental policies can beexplained by the bureaucrats’ policy core beliefs. In particular, thebureaucrats’ empirical policy core beliefs, i.e. their views on the policyproblem and its solutions, seemingly affect how policy is implemented. Theresults from this thesis underline the importance of street-level bureaucrats inthe implementation of environmental policy and the significance of the abovemention factors as drivers for street-level action. Thus, the decisive role ofstreet-level bureaucrats should be considered when explaining success andfailure in the struggle to curb environmental problems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå tekniska universitet, 2015.
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-17436Local ID: 363811af-780c-448c-8339-0d9e4fea7cb3ISBN: 978-91-7583-302-6 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7583-303-3 (electronic)OAI: diva2:990441

Godkänd; 2015; 20150408 (miksev); Nedanstående person kommer att disputera för avläggande av filosofie doktorsexamen, Namn: Mikael Sevä Ämne: Statsvetenskap / Political Science Avhandling: The Decisive Role of Street-Level bureaucrats in Environmental Management Opponent: Docent Erik Hysing Institutionen för humaniora, utbildnings- och samhällsvetenskap Örebro universitet Ordförande: Docent Carina Lundmark Institutionen för ekonomi, teknik och samhällsvetenskap Luleå tekniska universitet Tid: Måndag den 13 maj 2015, kl. 14.00 Plats: D770, Luleå tekniska universitet

Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29 Last updated: 2018-01-10Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

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