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Measuring Public Value in Bureaucratic Settings: Opportunities and Constraints

Public Value Management, Measurement and Reporting

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

Publication date: 11 November 2014



In recent years, public management research has been focused at the public value paradigm. However, many discussions on this topic are motivated at least as much by theory as by evidence. We do not yet have a comprehensive empirical understanding of what happens when the public value paradigm is translated into practice within organizations. An important theoretical question is how to match the public value approach and measurement to specific contexts. Understanding barriers to effective implementation and identifying what might be done to overcome obstacles are interesting issues for advancing theory and practice.


By deploying and testing the same approach and method of measuring public value in two local governments, this article aims to shed light on barriers to implementing the public value paradigm in practice.


The study’s findings show little evidence to support claims for a paradigmatic shift towards the public value paradigm in the Italian case.

Practical implications

Managerial implications of public value measurement are also taken into consideration.


We know little about what conditions drive individual governments towards the adoption of a public value approach and measurement. Undoubtedly, this issue has huge practical relevance when introducing public value discourses in bureaucratic governmental settings.



Guarini, E. (2014), "Measuring Public Value in Bureaucratic Settings: Opportunities and Constraints", Public Value Management, Measurement and Reporting (Studies in Public and Non-Profit Governance, Vol. 3), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 301-319.



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