Närbyråkraters individuella handlingsutrymme : Lärares handlingslogiker vid myndighetsutövning i form av bedömning och betygsättning
Sammanfattning: The point of departure for this study is Michael Lipsky’s description and problematization of street-level bureaucrats’ discretion. Street-level bureaucrats, such as teachers, have a possibility to influence the implementation of policy at the point of delivery to citizens.This can create a problem within the democratic policy process as policy does not materialize in the way that politicians intended. I used a qualitative research design and interviewed ten teachers in upper secondary schools about their exercise of authority, in order to investigate a factor that may lead to policy-making: logics of action. I claim that logics of action are suitable tools for analyzing and discussing the policy-making that street-level bureaucrats perform in the democratic policy process. The main purpose of this study is to contribute to such a discussion. A second purpose is to elucidate logics of action as a type of factors that guides teachers’ exercise of authority, but which has not been noticed to any great extent in previous research. I investigated which logics of action are mainly present in teachers’ exercise of authority concerning assessment and grading: a logic of consequences or a logic of appropriateness; a manufacturing logic or a service logic; and an instrumental logic or alternative logics. The relationship between logics of consequences and appropriateness is complex. It is difficult to say that one logic is the dominant force behind teachers’ exercise of authority. This is because of the constantly changing circumstances in the school environment. As for the manufacturing and service logics, the latter is dominant in assessment and grading. This does not influence decision-making as such, but enriches policy with a certain value production. Lastly, teachers claim that they instrumentally follow the guidelines in their exercise of authority. But at the same time alternative logics, such as gaming and cheating with the rules, are very much present in assessment and grading. Alternative logics distort teachers’ decision-making in several ways. These results show that logics of action are indeed tools that can help us to better understand what influences street-level bureaucrats’ exercise of authority, and how this contributes to policy-making. I conclude by suggesting how the use of logics of action as analytical tools can enhance our knowledge of street-level bureaucrats’ discretion in future research.
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