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Understanding street-level bureaucracy$
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Peter Hupe, Peter Hupe, Michael Hill, and Aurèlien Buffat

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447313267

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447313267.001.0001

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date: 18 August 2017

Service workers on the electronic leash? Street-level bureaucrats in emerging information and communication technology work contexts

Service workers on the electronic leash? Street-level bureaucrats in emerging information and communication technology work contexts

Chapter:
(p.243) Fourteen Service workers on the electronic leash? Street-level bureaucrats in emerging information and communication technology work contexts
Source:
Understanding street-level bureaucracy
Author(s):

Tino Schuppan

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447313267.003.0014

The chapter explores the involvement of call centre agents in new modes of work organisation in the public sector implemented in the context of e-Government. Based on the theory on street-level bureaucrats it focuses on the question of whether call centre agents have less scope of action due to their new ‘electronic leashes’. The answer is empirically based on the analysis of the work organisation in call centres of a national Public Service Number in two large German cities. The results show that civil servants have developed very specific mechanisms in their day to day work to cope with their emerging working situation using electronic devices. Their work is very diverse and situated in the interaction with the citizens even if IT constrain their actions in some extent. Due to these characteristics we argue that call centre agents involved in one stop government act as street level bureaucrats.

Keywords:   information technology, work organisation, control, de skilling, standardisation

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