Giving Sense to Social Policy Implementation and Its Evaluation Analyzing the Institutional Work: The Case of a French Social Security Local Organization

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:15 PM
Room: 424
Oral Presentation
Nadia OKBANI , Science Po Bordeaux , bordeaux, France
Social security and its solidarity policies play a central role on poverty reduction. To analyze how does it work in practice and its limits to reach its aim, it is interesting to wonder how it is elaborated, implemented by organizations and actors, and how it is questioned by policy evaluations. Hence, examine the institutional work (Lawrence, Suddaby, Leca, 2009) is a good way to better understand the complex institutional configuration where different actors interact to conduct and question policy. Studying the case of institutional work in a French social security local organization commissioned on family and solidarity policies, this communication intend to analyze how organizational context, economic crisis and New Public Management affect social intervention and its targeted public. This paper is based on a three years ethnographic immersion in this organization with participant observation as a policy evaluator, a research on a minimum income scheme non-take-up, with some forty interviews and document analysis. Firstly, it explain how does the organization work, its missions, partners and professional cultures. Secondly it examines how in time of crisis, this social organization has not only to deal with an increasing demand to mitigate crisis negative effects on most disadvantaged people, but also with important budgetary restrictions and performance management optimization which impact the service delivery. Then, it analyze how do street level bureaucrats (Lipsky, 1980) react in front of theses paradoxical injunctions and elaborate collective and individual performance strategies which are not always focusing on social right accessibility for vulnerable people. Finally, it study how policy evaluation question this situation, giving some prospect for improvement without really put into question the institutional work influence on actors strategy. More broadly, this paper tries to understand how institutional configuration impacts policy implementation focusing on internal preoccupations more than in policy potential outputs for beneficiaries.