Managing risk and delivering quality services: a case study perspective

Jenny Harrow (South Bank University Business School, London, UK)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Publication date: 1 September 1997


Public managers throughout the world work in an unforgiving environment in which to take risks. Managers face varying pressures from a range of informed publics to ensure that risks to them are minimized or eliminated; while many are simultaneously subject to criticism, via private practice models, that they are too risk‐averse. Concurrently, leadership from public managers is sought in drives to ensure quality in public services. Risk and quality appear strongly inter‐linked, although managerial discussion of their interrelationship seems relatively rare, at least within the public domain. Links these two concepts, as they are experienced by public managers, through two pilot case studies of managerial practice in the UK, based in probation and health services. Gives consideration in each study to the contribution of understanding and managing risk as a core element in improving public services quality. The theoretical underpinnings of the research are drawn primarily from the literature on strategic management and risk‐taking in public services.



Harrow, J. (1997), "Managing risk and delivering quality services: a case study perspective", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 10 No. 5, pp. 331-352.

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Copyright © 1997, MCB UP Limited

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