Exploring Public Sector Managers’ Motivations in Deploying Decision Support Tools to the Street Level
Keywords:digital government, automated decision making, streetlevel bureaucracy, algorithms
This article explores the motivations of public sector managers in developing and deploying digital tools to support decision making at the front lines of public service delivery. Two digital decision support tools created by New Zealand’s Ministry of Social Development are presented as a case study, drawing primarily on semi-structured interviews with senior managers. Results provide empirical evidence that public sector managers deploy digital tools not to curtail, but to support street-level bureaucrats’ discretion. Managers appear to be motivated not by increased control over front-line staff, but, rather, by improving clients’ experience of the system and decreasing longterm service costs.
Permission: In the interest of promoting debate and wider dissemination, the IGPS encourages use of all or part of the articles appearing in PQ, where there is no element of commercial gain. Appropriate acknowledgement of both author and source should be made in all cases. The IGPS retains copyright. Please direct requests for permission to reprint articles from this publication to firstname.lastname@example.org.