Re-creating Street Level Practice: The Role of Routines, Work Groups and Team Learning

Foldy, E.G. & Buckley, T.R.
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory

Ample research documents the ubiquity of routines in street-level practice. Some individual-level and organizational-level research has explored how to break street-level routines, but little has looked at the work group level. Our study observed teams of state child welfare workers over 2.5 years, documenting whether they discarded old routines and learned new ones. Results suggest that team characteristics such as clear direction and reflective behaviors had greater influence on team learning than individual characteristics such as stress level, tenure, and educational level. We suggest that group-level factors be included in future models of what enables the re-creation of street-level practice.

Wagner Faculty