Dissertation, Universiti Malaya (2021
Regulatory enforcement is a multifaceted phenomenon that revolves around the concept of discretion of Street-Level Bureaucrats (SLBs). Discretion can be defined as the ability to freely decide how to deliver services to the clients/public. Regulations are enforced by the decisions made by bureaucrats when they interact with clients. By combining street-level bureaucracy and responsive regulation theories, this study is set to examine how different factors shape the discretion of street-level bureaucrats.
This study is built on available literature pertaining to SLBs and policy implementation to provide a comprehensive understanding of regulation enforcement in Malaysia. SLBs are the Labor Inspectors responsible for the enforcement of minimum wage in Malaysia. The study’s main contribution is examining how personal characteristics, internal organizational factors, and a multidimensional enforcement style shape the discretion of bureaucrats in Malaysia. The study’s main finding highlights that Labor Inspectors in Malaysia demonstrate a range of enforcement style dimensions when enforcing the minimum wage. The novelty of this thesis highlights two primary constructs; willingness to implement and client meaningfulness, and their importance in shaping policy implementation and its effect on street-level bureaucrats' behavior. These constructs are also likely contributing to the imperfect enforcement of the minimum wage policy. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that enforcement style consists of three dimensions; legal, facilitation, and accommodation. Finally, this study's empirical finding highlights that street-level bureaucrats' discretion is influenced by various factors that ultimately define the enforcement process.