Values of public craftsmanship: The mismatch between street-level ideals and institutional facilitation in the prison sector

Hester Paanakker

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Public craftsmanship, as the normative prescription of a myriad of public values, is receiving renewed attention. This study aims at empirical insight into how such abstract principles acquire practical meaning in specific professional settings, and how they are practically facilitated on the shop floor. We use an explorative case study among Dutch prison professionals (N = 32) to contrast perceptions of ideal values and practices with perceptions of institutional facilitation at street level. In the case of prison officers, the institutional context of the prison was found to substantially restrain rather than support the ideals that professionals attach to good street-level craftsmanship. The study’s theoretical contribution is to show craftsmanship as uniquely localizing the normative underpinnings of good work. Empirically, the findings show how an unyielding neoliberalist administrative practice can hamper the potential of public craftsmanship and is likely to have negative impact on staff commitment and successful public service delivery. We end with implications for the further examination and development of public craftsmanship in public administration theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)884-896
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Volume49
Issue number8
Early online date4 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • craftsmanship
  • professionalism
  • public values
  • street-level performance
  • value management

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Values of public craftsmanship: The mismatch between street-level ideals and institutional facilitation in the prison sector'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this