Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Children's services in the iron cage of perform...
View graph of relations

Children's services in the iron cage of performance management: street-level bureaucracy and the spectre of Švejkism

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Standard

Children's services in the iron cage of performance management : street-level bureaucracy and the spectre of Švejkism. / Wastell, D.; White, S.; Broadhurst, K.; Peckover, S.; Pithouse, A.

In: International Journal of Social Welfare, Vol. 19, No. 3, 07.2010, p. 310-320.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Harvard

APA

Vancouver

Author

Wastell, D. ; White, S. ; Broadhurst, K. ; Peckover, S. ; Pithouse, A. / Children's services in the iron cage of performance management : street-level bureaucracy and the spectre of Švejkism. In: International Journal of Social Welfare. 2010 ; Vol. 19, No. 3. pp. 310-320.

Bibtex

@article{deb84a051e344ee3bf5ed13bec23abc8,
title = "Children's services in the iron cage of performance management: street-level bureaucracy and the spectre of {\v S}vejkism",
abstract = "Recent UK government reforms have introduced a range of measures to regulate practice in child welfare, with professional work increasingly structured into formal processes embedded in information technology. This prompts obvious anxieties about the erosion of professional discretion. Using Lipsky's concept of the street-level bureaucrat, we report on an ethnographical study examining how social workers organise their practice in an atmosphere of performance management. Clear indications of attenuated discretion are revealed, reflecting the shift to a managerial model of control. Of concern is the emergence of a pattern of formally conformant behaviour in which the letter of the organisational law is obeyed but without genuine commitment. Drawing on the anti-hero of Ha{\v s}ek's celebrated satire, we denote this form of passive resistance {\textquoteleft}{\v S}vejkism{\textquoteright}. While showing up the absurdities of excessive managerial power, such behaviours are ultimately dysfunctional for the organisation; an alternative governance paradigm, based on professional values, is briefly outlined.",
keywords = "social work, children's services , information technology, street-level bureaucracy, {\v S}vejk , discretion , formalisation , New Public Management",
author = "D. Wastell and S. White and K. Broadhurst and S. Peckover and A. Pithouse",
year = "2010",
month = jul,
doi = "10.1111/j.1468-2397.2009.00716.x",
language = "English",
volume = "19",
pages = "310--320",
journal = "International Journal of Social Welfare",
issn = "1369-6866",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "3",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Children's services in the iron cage of performance management

T2 - street-level bureaucracy and the spectre of Švejkism

AU - Wastell, D.

AU - White, S.

AU - Broadhurst, K.

AU - Peckover, S.

AU - Pithouse, A.

PY - 2010/7

Y1 - 2010/7

N2 - Recent UK government reforms have introduced a range of measures to regulate practice in child welfare, with professional work increasingly structured into formal processes embedded in information technology. This prompts obvious anxieties about the erosion of professional discretion. Using Lipsky's concept of the street-level bureaucrat, we report on an ethnographical study examining how social workers organise their practice in an atmosphere of performance management. Clear indications of attenuated discretion are revealed, reflecting the shift to a managerial model of control. Of concern is the emergence of a pattern of formally conformant behaviour in which the letter of the organisational law is obeyed but without genuine commitment. Drawing on the anti-hero of Hašek's celebrated satire, we denote this form of passive resistance ‘Švejkism’. While showing up the absurdities of excessive managerial power, such behaviours are ultimately dysfunctional for the organisation; an alternative governance paradigm, based on professional values, is briefly outlined.

AB - Recent UK government reforms have introduced a range of measures to regulate practice in child welfare, with professional work increasingly structured into formal processes embedded in information technology. This prompts obvious anxieties about the erosion of professional discretion. Using Lipsky's concept of the street-level bureaucrat, we report on an ethnographical study examining how social workers organise their practice in an atmosphere of performance management. Clear indications of attenuated discretion are revealed, reflecting the shift to a managerial model of control. Of concern is the emergence of a pattern of formally conformant behaviour in which the letter of the organisational law is obeyed but without genuine commitment. Drawing on the anti-hero of Hašek's celebrated satire, we denote this form of passive resistance ‘Švejkism’. While showing up the absurdities of excessive managerial power, such behaviours are ultimately dysfunctional for the organisation; an alternative governance paradigm, based on professional values, is briefly outlined.

KW - social work

KW - children's services

KW - information technology

KW - street-level bureaucracy

KW - Švejk

KW - discretion

KW - formalisation

KW - New Public Management

U2 - 10.1111/j.1468-2397.2009.00716.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1468-2397.2009.00716.x

M3 - Journal article

VL - 19

SP - 310

EP - 320

JO - International Journal of Social Welfare

JF - International Journal of Social Welfare

SN - 1369-6866

IS - 3

ER -