Category Archives: Governance

Updating your course reading lists? Check out our essential reading recommendations for Public Policy, Politics and Social Policy from Policy & Politics

All articles featured in this blog post are free to access until 31 October 2021

KoebeleIntroducing Elizabeth Koebele: our new Digital Associate Editor for Policy & Politics, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Nevada, Reno.

I am thrilled to have begun serving as Digital Associate Editor for Policy & Politics in January 2021. I have spent the last few months taking over this position from my colleague, Oscar Berglund, who now serves as one of the journal’s co-editors. As many of us are beginning to plan for our policy and politics-focused courses next semester, I figured what better way to celebrate joining the P&P team than to share with you some of my favorite Policy & Politics articles that make a great fit on a variety of syllabi? I hope this saves you time and effort in mining our recent articles, while also ensuring your course materials reflect the latest research from the frontiers of the discipline.

My initial suggestions are structured around two general topics that I hope many of you find yourself teaching or studying: one focused on knowledge, and one focused on actors/influence. I’m also sharing my top picks for readings on an increasingly popular policy topic: policy diffusion/transfer. In each case, I’ve recommended three articles that represent some of the most significant research we’ve published recently. Please let me know what you think when you’re compiling your reading lists for the start of the academic year. I’d value your feedback and suggestions for future topics to cover! Continue reading Updating your course reading lists? Check out our essential reading recommendations for Public Policy, Politics and Social Policy from Policy & Politics

Virtual issue on Central-local relations

Sarah_Brown_credit_Evelyn_Sturdy
Image credit: Evelyn Sturdy at Unsplash

Sarah Brown
Journal Manager, Policy & Politics

In our second virtual issue of 2021, we focus on central-local relations and feature some of the latest research on that topic from a range of different perspectives and three quite different political systems. Against a backdrop of austerity coupled with an imminent global recession resulting from the pandemic, the politics of central-local relations and their impact on policy are, we believe, even more topical than ever. So we hope that you enjoy this short collection featuring some of our most recent scholarship on this theme. Continue reading Virtual issue on Central-local relations

SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 7 – Key Themes In The (Possible) Move to Co-production and Co-creation in Public Management

ewan-ferlie-2.xaf3c0b17Ewan Ferlie

In my concluding article for the forthcoming special issue on Strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation , I review the contributions from the other articles in the collection  and considers what has been learnt. Building on the questions raised in the introductory paper, my article considers:

  • basic definitions of co-production and co-creation along with the claim made of a move from lower order co-production to higher level co-creation. It is argued that it is not clear whether the organisational capabilities needed to support such a major transition are as yet present in an intensive and extensive enough form. The evidence from the empirical and case-based papers in the edition is mixed.
  • the link between co-creation and co-production and different models of strategic management which may help manage organisational wide transitions and get beyond small scale projects. The article considers why strategic management is important and which schools are the most promising. The public value school is seen as a critical ‘lynchpin’ (as the goal of co-production and co-creation activity may be to create public value enhancing innovations). In addition, the strategic planning and culture schools are seen as promising. The question of how strategy is formed in diffuse multi agency networks as opposed to single agencies is an important and unresolved one so it may be helpful to bring in additional literature on cooperative forms of strategy.
  • the potential role of digitalisation in the move to co-production and co-creation with ‘open platforms’ being designed by government and the third sector seen as promising;

Continue reading SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 7 – Key Themes In The (Possible) Move to Co-production and Co-creation in Public Management

SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 6 – Strategic Management as an Enabler of Co-creation in Public Services

ongaro et alEdoardo Ongaro, Alessandro Angelo Sancino, Irene Pluchinotta, Hannah Williams, Martin Kitchener and Ewan Ferlie

In our recent contribution to the special issue on Strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation, our article offers an important contribution to the integration of strategic management and co-creation by demonstrating how the co-creation of public value may be enabled by strategic management.

We demonstrate this by conceptually elaborating, and then empirically illustrating, the potential for models of strategic public management to enable the co-creation of public service solutions that enhance public value. Our main research question explores how and under what conditions the adoption of models of strategic management in Public Service Organisations (PSOs) can support and enable the co-creation of public service solutions. Through our analysis, we aim to fill a gap in the literature by considering the importance of an underlying strategic orientation towards value creation that provides a value base upon which to embed these approaches within PSOs. Continue reading SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 6 – Strategic Management as an Enabler of Co-creation in Public Services

SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 5 – Digital platforms for the co-creation of public value

meijer & boonAlbert Meijer and Wouter Boon

The private sector is changing towards a new model of production: the platform model. Industrial companies, such as Ford, are regarded as outdated and digital technology companies such as Uber and AirBnB, are dominating discussions about organisational models. These tech companies rely on the platform logic for the production of services. They rule the world economy and generate huge profits for their shareholders. In our recent article in this special issue on Strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation, we ask: if this organisational model is so successful, should the public sector not start using the same model to provide public value?

So what’s so special about the platform model? Central to platform organisations is their capacity to connect numerous users and coordinate their interactions. The hierarchic and sequential logic of the Fordist model is replaced by a horizontal and parallel logic. This mode of organisation is facilitated by platform technologies which process interactions between the many users accurately and fast. Our understanding of how this model works for the private sector is becoming firmly established but we still know very little about the value of this model for the public sector. Continue reading SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 5 – Digital platforms for the co-creation of public value

SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 4 -Big dreams and small steps: regional policy networks and what they achieve

Special issue blog series on strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation

van gestel and GortenbregNicolette van Gestel and Sanne Grotenbreg

In many Western countries there are high expectations of regional networks in policy areas as diverse as healthcare, energy supply or security. In such regional networks, government is supposed to develop partnerships with private and non-profit parties, to develop solutions to societal problems that have broad support and commitment. Generally speaking, both public and private actors often recognise that they need each other to achieve their goals. But this idea does not generate success by itself. Sometimes actors tend to focus on their own advantage when participating in networksand are not very efficient nor effective in working together. 

Our recent article in Policy & Politics focuses on a study of regional networks involved in labour market policy. Governments, employers, trade unions, clients and educational organisations are jointly looking for solutions to persistent problems, such as discrepancy between vacancies and job seekers, and the lack of job opportunities for people with mental or physical disabilitiesIn other words, they need to solve problems of mismatch and inequality that have increased further during the Covid-19 crisis. Decentralisation and regional cooperation should, in principle, ensure more integrated and efficient public services, but also engender creative solutions that go beyond existing policy frameworks  Continue reading SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 4 -Big dreams and small steps: regional policy networks and what they achieve

SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 3 – How public leaders can use co-creation to make things better

Special issue blog series on strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation 

sorenson et alEva Sørensen, John Bryson and Barbara Crosby

Governance researchers broadly agree that co-creation can be a productive way of mobilising the resources needed to solve complex societal problems and create something that citizens accept as valuable for society. We still know little about how public leaders can employ co-creation as a means to promote public value, however. In our new article in Policy & PoliticsHow public leaders can promote public value through co-creation’, we propose that co-creation can strengthen the ability of public leaders to align the goals of diverse constituencies in a way that achieves lasting value for the public. This kind of public leadership involves a strategic effort to engage, inspire and mobilise actors with relevant governance assets – including legitimacy, authority and capabilities. We illustrate the salience of our propositions in two case studies that document how politicians and public and non-profit managers perform public leadership of co-created public value in Gentofte, Denmark and Minneapolis‒St. Paul, USA.

The first step in specifying public leadership of co-created public value entails moving beyond traditional understandings of public leadership theory that have mainly focussed on the mobilisation of public sector actors and resources in solving public challenges as defined by politicians and civil servants according to rules and regulations. By contrast, leaders who aim to employ co-creation as a tool for promoting public value seek to mobilise actors and resources across organisations and sectors. The objective is not merely to improve public service delivery. It is also to promote an array of broader public value outcomes, which are not predefined by public authorities but are shaped and reshaped as part of the co-creation process. Continue reading SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 3 – How public leaders can use co-creation to make things better

SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 2 – Co-creation: the new kid on the block in public governance

Special issue blog series on strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation

Ansell and TorfingChristopher Ansell and Jacob Torfing

In our recent article in our special issue on Strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation, we reminisce briefly about the time when bureaucracy with its hierarchical command structure and emphasis on compliance with written rules was the only game in town. This was understandable, since the public sector was tasked with solving simple problems through large-scale provision of services such as schooling, health care and social welfare. This task called for exploitation of the bureaucratic forms of organisation propagated by industrialisation.

Then, from the 1970s onwards, the criticisms of the public sector for being inefficient and delivering poor services and failing governance solutions started to grow and the public sector was confronted with the question whether to ‘make or buy’. As a result, we saw the expansion of quasi-markets where public and private service providers competed for contracts and customers. This development turned citizens into demanding, dissatisfied and complaining consumers expecting service without having to contribute anything themselves towards problem solving. In the increasingly cash-strapped public sector, this development seems to be unsustainable. We need to mobilise the manifold resources of users, citizens and private stakeholders in order to provide needs-based services and create new and better solutions through mutual learning and innovation. Continue reading SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 2 – Co-creation: the new kid on the block in public governance

NEW SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 1 – Public value as the game changer for co-creation of innovative solutions in the public sector

Special issue blog series on strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation

updated special issue editors co creationJacob Torfing, Ewan Ferlie, Tina Jukić and Edoardo Ongaro

During the 1980s and early 1990s, we were consistently told that the public sector was ossified, incompetent and unimaginative, and squandered value produced by the hard-working and innovative private sector. Government was the problem, not the solution, and we should therefore have less state and more market. The neoliberal onslaught on the public sector had begun and public employees gradually developed an inferiority complex.

This nightmarish development was reversed by Mark Moore’s Creating Public Value (1995) who insisted that the public sector creates its own distinctive value. The public sector creates ‘public value’ defined as what has value for the public and public values. Public managers are not merely engaged in securing compliance with bureaucratic rules, but are entrepreneurs engaged in the exploration of new and better service and policy solutions. In this way, the public sector was redeemed and public managers could re-describe themselves as proud guardians of the public interest and producers of public value.  Continue reading NEW SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 1 – Public value as the game changer for co-creation of innovative solutions in the public sector

SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 2 – Behavioural insights into what motivates public employees on the front line to respond to reforms championed by elected politicians

Special issue blog series on advancing our understanding of the politics behind nudge and the ‘behavioural insights’ trend in public policy.

Don leeDon Lee 

My recent article in Policy & Politics investigates how bureaucrats on the front line make policy implementation decisions. Political leaders and lawmakers tend to assume that street-level bureaucrats will follow their direction and implement polices as they devised. However, front line workers, in fact, have room to interpret the policies in the implementation process. To understand what important factors influence street-level bureaucrats’ implementation decisions, my article examines two central elements in policy implementation: 1) whether street-level bureaucrats’ policy orientation is congruent with that of elected politicians and 2) to what extent street-level bureaucrats have discretion in implementing policies. Continue reading SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 2 – Behavioural insights into what motivates public employees on the front line to respond to reforms championed by elected politicians