The literature has usually regarded street-level bureaucrats (SLBs) as relatively privileged bureaucrats, neglecting an important sub-group of these civil servants: low-status SLBs. Even though they may be members of a team with other SLBs who have more status, they may suffer from intraorganizational inequality, meaning unequal access to resources and the requirement that they perform informal tasks associated with their unequal position in the organization. We examine the unique challenges low-status SLBs are often confronted with, and how they cope with them. Based on 94 interviews with community health workers in Brazil, we identify several types of burdens associated with their ambiguous tasks, as well as the strategies they use to cope with these burdens. The analyses suggest that the burdens and coping strategies are an important source of the inequality on the team. The paper discusses the importance of considering the diversity of roles occupied by SLBs and the inequalities within teams.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration