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The evolution of public services from co-production to co-creation and beyond: New Public Management's unfinished trajectory?

Petri Virtanen (School of Management, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)
Jari Stenvall (School of Management, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)

International Journal of Leadership in Public Services

ISSN: 1747-9886

Article publication date: 6 May 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

Based on the concept of “intelligent public organisation” as a new theoretical trajectory for New Public Management (NPM) theory, this paper brings together the recent critical discussion on NPM as it relates to public services and service science while specifically pinpointing the nature of public sector intelligence, evaluation, as well as management and leadership of public services. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper highlights the ongoing discussion on service-dominant logic and reflects the major innovations in service research, innovation studies, organisational learning, development methods, and evaluation from the public services’ perspective.

Findings

It is argued that contemporary public management theories and practices – and theories reflecting the role of public services – should make more use of that body of literature focusing on substantive service-dominant theories found in marketing and business studies. The paper concludes that the academic discourse on NPM and New Public Governance (NPG) has been rich in content, but to date rather biased from a public services perspective.

Practical implications

It is argued that public services are arenas for interaction, co-operation, and co-creation, orchestrated by the networks of organisations providing these services. The essence of “service user” has also changed in recent decades. This development has practical implications for developing leadership practices in public services.

Originality/value

Doctrines of NPM and NPG have been missing an appreciation of the comprehensive role played by public services and the role of evaluation of public services has also been largely ignored. In this light and in regards to public services in particular, the new wave of public policy evaluation paradigms could usefully be integrated with NPG.

Keywords

Citation

Virtanen, P. and Stenvall, J. (2014), "The evolution of public services from co-production to co-creation and beyond: New Public Management's unfinished trajectory?", International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 91-107. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLPS-03-2014-0002

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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