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Disciplining the strong? Discrimination of service users and the moderating role of PSM and ability to cope

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  • Niels Bjørn Petersen
Ethnic stereotypes influence frontline workers’ decision-making, which challenges the legitimacy of public organizations. In this article, we examine how ethnic stereotypes affect caseworkers’ sanctioning behaviour in a context where the client group consists of highly vulnerable clients. Using survey experimental vignettes and qualitative interviews, we find that social caseworkers use ethnic classification in their decision-making. However, contrary to our expectations, caseworkers are less likely to sanction clients with a non-western ethnicity compared to ethnic Danish clients. In addition, the article finds novel evidence indicating that employee traits mitigate the use of ethnic stereotypes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Management Review
Pages (from-to)168-188
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Frontline workers, Public Service Motivation, ability to cope, experimental research, stereotypes and discrimination

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