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      Supervisory Leadership at the Frontlines: Street-Level Discretion, Supervisor Influence, and Street-Level Bureaucrats’ Attitude Towards Clients

      1 , 2
      Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory
      Oxford University Press (OUP)

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          Abstract

          Steering street-level bureaucrats is utterly complex due to their discretion and professional status which grant them relative autonomy from supervisory directives. Drawing from transformational leadership theory, this article explores the opportunities these work conditions provide for supervisory leadership at the frontlines. Looking at street-level bureaucrats’ attitude towards clients, we analyze how the frontline supervisor affects this core perception that protrudes the human judgments street-level bureaucrats are required to pass in their use of their discretion. Using a survey dataset of 971 street-level bureaucrats and their 203 frontline supervisors, this study shows that frontline supervisors function as an attitudinal role model to street-level bureaucrats. Moreover, their supportive leadership behaviors are crucial to them upholding a positive attitude towards clients. Supportive leadership does not unequivocally strengthen the supervisor’s position as an attitudinal referent, though. These findings challenge pessimistic assessments of the potential for supervisory leadership at the frontlines. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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          Most cited references79

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          Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales.

          In recent studies of the structure of affect, positive and negative affect have consistently emerged as two dominant and relatively independent dimensions. A number of mood scales have been created to measure these factors; however, many existing measures are inadequate, showing low reliability or poor convergent or discriminant validity. To fill the need for reliable and valid Positive Affect and Negative Affect scales that are also brief and easy to administer, we developed two 10-item mood scales that comprise the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). The scales are shown to be highly internally consistent, largely uncorrelated, and stable at appropriate levels over a 2-month time period. Normative data and factorial and external evidence of convergent and discriminant validity for the scales are also presented.
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            Self-Reports in Organizational Research: Problems and Prospects

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              Transformational leader behaviors and their effects on followers' trust in leader, satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behaviors

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory
                Oxford University Press (OUP)
                1053-1858
                1477-9803
                April 2020
                April 15 2020
                October 09 2019
                April 2020
                April 15 2020
                October 09 2019
                : 30
                : 2
                : 307-323
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Radboud University Nijmegen
                [2 ]Leiden University
                Article
                10.1093/jopart/muz019
                a2275baf-1f97-480a-8845-04a3638af5c2
                © 2019

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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