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The Quest for Public Value in the Swedish Museum Transition

Public Value Management, Measurement and Reporting

ISBN: 978-1-78441-011-7, eISBN: 978-1-78441-010-0

Publication date: 11 November 2014



The aim of this paper is to investigate the nature of public value in the context of Swedish public museum management and how it is created.


The museum context is introduced, and assumptions and principles underpinning new public management (NPM) and public value management, along with examples of applicability and implementation in museums, are presented. Three key issues of convergence and divergence within the theoretical framework – strategic orientation, accountability and performance – are identified and introduced as a gateway to the empirical findings and the ensuing discussion.


NPM-oriented values have become part of the strategic orientation of the museum sector. The results of this study show that there exist at least three conceptions of museum management that are based on two different strategic orientations, that is, accessibility and conservation, which also point to different conceptions of value.

Social implications

Museum management can be seen as the management of tensions between conservation and accessibility and between customer orientation and stakeholder orientation towards the creation of museum value.


The findings will assist museum management determine not only what value is but also for whom it is valuable, taking into account both present and future generations.



Thomson, K., Caicedo, M.H. and Mårtensson, M. (2014), "The Quest for Public Value in the Swedish Museum Transition", Public Value Management, Measurement and Reporting (Studies in Public and Non-Profit Governance, Vol. 3), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 105-128.



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