Purpose The purpose of this paper is to understand the process that occurs within public employment offices (PEOs) and its consequences for unemployed people. Specifically, it analysed some practices needed to implement activation programmes developed in some PEO in Lombardy (Italy) and the role of front-line officers, promoting a dialogue between the literature on activation policies on one hand and the literature on street-level bureaucracy on the other. Design/methodology/approach The fieldwork has been conducted in Lombardy, which is one of most economically developed areas both in Italy and in Europe. The empirical research integrated quantitative and qualitative research tools; specifically a CATI survey of 994 persons; participant and non-participant observations, semi-structured interviews, and an analysis of documents in four PEOs. Findings The paper describes and analyses both practices needed to implement activation programmes and the perceptions of the social actors (unemployed people and front-line officers) who build and address these practices daily. Specifically, the attention is focussed on the different forms of discretion used by PEOs' front-line officers and a mix of technical, relational and psychological support received in the PEOs. Moreover, the authors noticed that the front-line officers' discretion seemed to be more limited in those parts of the activation process in which it should be more relevant, that is, the identification of training courses aimed at increasing unemployed workers' skills. Notwithstanding these limits, many users expressed positive opinions of these courses, which could be explained by secondary functions of training courses. Research limitations/implications The qualitative portion of the fieldwork has limited generalisability because it focussed on few PEOs. Practical implications The findings are relevant to policy makers who deal with activation policies and to public and private organisations that implement those policies. Originality/value Many studies have analysed the implementation of the welfare-to-work model that has oriented the reforms of labour market activation policies in most countries, focussing on the more tangible outcomes (essentially their efficacy in terms of re-employment rates). A growing stream of recent literature has begun to place more attention on the non-economic consequences of activation programmes, focussing mainly on countries with quite a long tradition of activation policies while remaining scant in countries where the implementation of activation programmes is still fragmented and more recent (like Italy). This paper aims to begin filling this gap by improving the knowledge on some non-economic consequences of activation programmes, focussing on user-officer relations and on daily practices in PEOs.
Activation policies in action: Unemployed people and public officers in face of the economic crisis / D. Coletto, S. Guglielmi. - In: THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY & SOCIAL POLICY. - ISSN 0144-333X. - 38:3-4(2018 Mar), pp. 329-344.
|Titolo:||Activation policies in action: Unemployed people and public officers in face of the economic crisis|
COLETTO, DIEGO [Writing – Original Draft Preparation]
GUGLIELMI, SIMONA [Writing – Original Draft Preparation]
|Parole Chiave:||Economic crisis; Unemployment; Activation policies; Public employment offices; Street-level bureaucracy|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore SPS/07 - Sociologia Generale|
Settore SPS/09 - Sociologia dei Processi economici e del Lavoro
|Data di pubblicazione:||mar-2018|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-02-2017-0020|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|