Dan Octavian BALICA, Alexander HENDERSON, Tudor Cristian ȚICLĂU


Despite our relatively broad and robust understanding of street level bureaucracy in a Western context, this area of inquiry remains somewhat understudied in an Eastern European context. This is particularly problematic for Romania, where poor educational stock, weak accountability mechanism, and rather frail media make front line bureaucrats’ behavior disproportionately critical to public service provision. This article partially fills this void and brings a much
needed overview of street-level bureaucracy in Romania. Relying on recent survey data collected from 407 front line workers, the study covers four key public administration services (taxation, consumer, environmental, and labor protection) and street-level bureaucracy, describes demographics, values, work environment, and attitudes towards rules and citizens. It shows that Romanian front line workers are relatively willing to bend and break the rules if their organizational goals demand so, and that they enjoy important levels of discretion and work autonomy. These bureaucrats also depict high levels of organizational commitment, low levels of uncertainty tolerance, and high power distance. The article concludes with comments and implications for future research in policy implementation at the front lines.


street-level bureaucracy; Romania; discretion; rule abidance; conformity; public sector motivation; power distance; uncertainty avoidance; goal ambiguity; organizational commitment.

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