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Practices of activation in frontline interactions: Coercion, persuasion, and the role of trust in activation policies in Germany

  • Following Michael Lipsky's well‐known argument that policy is made in the daily encounters between street‐level bureaucracy and citizens, a growing body of research emphasizes that actors and organizations delivering social and labor‐market policy play a crucial role in welfare‐state politics. Using qualitative data collected at three local employment agencies in Germany, this article explores worker‐client relations as a crucial mechanism through which activation policies are translated into practice. The analysis investigates how caseworkers define their role and their relationships with clients. The findings show that it is essential for caseworkers to achieve client compliance. In such a context, building relationships of trust is a strategic instrument in overcoming possible barriers to co‐operation in the caseworker‐client interaction. Caseworkers develop strategies to create the impression of trustworthiness and to motivate both unemployed clients and employers to become trust‐givers in the caseworker‐client relation. While research has often stressed the dichotomy between disciplining and enabling elements of activation policies, our explorative study shows that persuasion and trust‐building are a further important dimension of the frontline delivery of activation policies. These strategies reflect the importance of emotional aspects of frontline work.

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Verfasserangaben:Monika Senghaas, Carolin FreierORCiDGND, Peter Kupka
Titel des übergeordneten Werkes (Englisch):Social policy and administration
Jahr der Fertigstellung:2019
Datum der Freischaltung:26.11.2019
GND-Schlagwort:Deutschland; Arbeitsamt; Klient
Ausgabe / Heft:5
Erste Seite:613
Letzte Seite:626
DDC-Sachgruppen:300 Sozialwissenschaften
Zugriffsrecht:Frei zugänglich
Hochschulen:Evangelische Hochschule Nürnberg
Hochschulbibliographie:Evangelische Hochschule Nürnberg
Lizenz (Deutsch):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC-ND - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitungen 4.0 International