We investigate the impact of policy consistency on frontline workers’ perceptions of policy meaningfulness and legitimacy. The results from an experiment involving 779 teachers indicate that policy consistency does have a positive effect on legitimacy and to a lesser extent on meaningfulness. However, the extent depends on policy content and the degree of autonomy. Overall, our findings emphasize the potential positive impact of policy consistency. Although this, to some extent, conflicts with the nature of political decision- and policy-making (i.e., democratically elected governments have been mandated to change policy), our study suggests that policy consistency could be a valuable strategy for governments to strengthen successful policy implementation. This adds a new perspective to the continuing debate within policy implementation and street-level bureaucracy research on how to account for the complex, messy and sometimes contradictory implementation of public policies.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/padm.12570, hdl.handle.net/1765/115738
Journal Public Administration
Citation
van Engen, N.A.M, Steijn, A.J, & Tummers, L.G. (2019). Do consistent government policies lead to greater meaningfulness and legitimacy on the frontline?. Public Administration, 97(1), 97–115. doi:10.1111/padm.12570