The Role of Organizational and Client Reactions in Understanding Representative Bureaucracy

Maayan Davidovitz, Tamar Shwartz-Ziv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The public administration literature has long observed the efforts of street-level bureaucrats to actively represent the clients with whom they share a social or demographic identity. However, it has not examined the responses that street-level bureaucrats receive when they represent minorities and how these responses shape how they use discretion in implementing policies. We explore these issues empirically through in-depth interviews with 23 Israeli Arab social and community workers and 32 Israeli LGBTQ+ teachers. This exploratory study reveals the variety of reactions that street-level bureaucrats encounter when representing minorities. Furthermore, it highlights the significant role of reactions from clients and organizations in encouraging, reducing, or impeding the efforts of minority street-level bureaucrats to represent those with whom they share an identity, which, in turn, underscores the importance of external responses for confirming and legitimizing active representation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • LGBTQ+
  • active representation
  • minority groups
  • representative bureaucracy
  • street-level bureaucrats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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