The attitude of street-level bureaucrats towards their clients has an impact on the decisions they take. Still, such attitudes have not received much scholarly attention, nor are they generally studied in much detail. This article uses Breckler's psychological multicomponent model of attitude to develop a scale to measure street-level bureaucrats' general attitude towards their clients. By means of a test study (N=218) and a replication study (N = 879), the article shows that street-level bureaucrats' attitude towards clients consists of four different components: a cognitive attitude component, a positive affective attitude component, a negative affective attitude component and a behavioural attitude component. It also establishes a conceptual and empirical distinction from related attitudes, such as prosocial motivation, work engagement, bureaucrats’ rule-following identities and self-efficacy, and suggests avenues for application and further validation among different groups of street-level bureaucrats. This instrument opens up opportunities for theory testing and causality testing that surpasses case-specific considerations.

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Public Policy and Administration
Department of Sociology

Keulemans, S. (Shelena), & Van de Walle, S. (2018). Understanding street-level bureaucrats’ attitude towards clients: Towards a measurement instrument. Public Policy and Administration. doi:10.1177/0952076718789749