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The chapter aims to compare public, private and non-profit working citizens’ preferences for cross-sectoral relations in England and Finland. Its main contribution is in…
The chapter aims to compare public, private and non-profit working citizens’ preferences for cross-sectoral relations in England and Finland. Its main contribution is in identifying preferences in the delivery of services in the respective countries in which citizen choice has become an issue in times of public sector austerity. Challenges arise because in these two similarly institutionalized healthcare systems but pluralistic societies people have contrasting perspectives on the values that should guide policy decisions. The survey data was therefore collected in both England (N = 2,000) and Finland (N = 1,973) in 2013 from cities in which citizens have choices regarding health service delivery. Our informants in England anticipated more potential for better ‘privatized driven public interest’ than did those in Finland. Surprisingly, over 60% of public sector employees in England would like for-profit healthcare to carry main responsibility, and almost 55% of all employees agree with this. Almost 20% of respondents in both countries did not care who the service provider is if only services are available. Thus, the research has pioneering relevance for policymaking, public strategic management and the comparative empirical study of managing people’s preferences in cross-sectoral relations. We conclude that identifying working citizens’ preferences is crucial for effective utilization of current welfare services because the preferences derive from both service and work experience. In sum, strategically, this identification lets public managers balance biased images of the cross-sectoral differences and reconstruct functional hybridity of services.