Category Archives: Governance

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 Industrial companies, such as Ford, are regarded as outdated and digital technology companies such as Uber and AirBnB, are dominating discussions about organisational models.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

The transformation of policy advisory systems: lessons from Whitehall

Patrick DiamondPatrick Diamond

Across the world over the last thirty years, the provision of policy advice to governments has been transformed as a diverse range of actors have been increasingly engaged in the policy-making process. Academic research needs to better understand the changes that have taken place by considering the shape of the new advisory systems, and the influence of different types of policy advice. In my latest research article in Policy & Politics, I seek to address this gap in understanding. The scholars Jonathan Craft and John Halligan developed the concept of a ‘policy advisory system’ to explain how policy advice is formulated by ‘interlocking actors’ beyond the formal bureaucracy of government. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) define policy advisory systems as the autonomous organisations – advisory bodies, think-tanks, policy labs, ‘what works’ centres, political advisers, committees of inquiry – that sustain government’s requirement for knowledge and expertise. Their growth has been observed particularly in the Anglophone countries – New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the UK. Continue reading The transformation of policy advisory systems: lessons from Whitehall

Exploring the role of the state in the depoliticisation of UK Transport Policy: Reflections through the lens of COVID-19

Reardon and MarsdenLouise Reardon and Greg Marsden

At the height of the pandemic in the UK, the government order was to ‘stay home, protect the National Health Service, save lives’. The public were told not to travel to their place of work unless that work was essential (and couldn’t be done from home), told not to leave the house for anything but essential groceries, medication or to support the vulnerable, and in doing so advised not to travel on public transport unless there was no alternative. As a consequence travel demand plummeted: motor traffic down by 73% compared to pre-outbreak levels, rail journeys down 90%, London Underground journeys down 94%, and bus journeys in London down 83%. While the current context is very different to the one we wrote our new Policy & Politics article in, it highlights the puzzle that initially caught our attention. Continue reading Exploring the role of the state in the depoliticisation of UK Transport Policy: Reflections through the lens of COVID-19

Which audiences matter to public service organisations when managing their reputations?

Jan Boon, Jan Wynen, Koen VerhoestJan Boon, Jan Wynen and Koen Verhoest

Why do public sector organisations target different stakeholder audiences when managing their reputations? This is the question we wanted to address in our recent Policy & Politics article entitled What determines the audiences that public service organisations target for reputation management.

A basic tenet in the reputation literature is that organisations are sensitive to their environment. Different audiences (be it clients, politicians, the media and others) expect different things from public service organisations, so how do they manage such conflicting demands? How do they prioritise the needs of their audiences? Continue reading Which audiences matter to public service organisations when managing their reputations?

President Trump’s Policy Overreaction Style during Manufactured Crises

moshe maorMoshe Maor

Recently, we have witnessed deliberate constructions of migration crises, for example, by Victor Orbán, in Hungary in the period 2015–2018, and by Donald Trump, in the run-up to the U.S. 2018 midterm elections. In both cases, Orbán and Trump skillfully exploited the challenges that the general public sometimes faces in determining when a crisis begins and when a crisis is over. Furthermore, both leaders were willing to see certain threats, or at the very least the perception that there is a threat, ramped up in order to advance their political goals. They were able to step up existential warnings while taking advantage of the opportunities that arose as they determined the starting point and other temporal elements of the immigration crises they manufactured. Continue reading President Trump’s Policy Overreaction Style during Manufactured Crises