P03 Value and value creation in the public service ecosystems

Corresponding chair:

Tie Cui (Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK): t.cui@napier.ac.uk

Review group chair:

Stephen P. Osborne (University of Edinburgh Business School, Edinburgh, UK): stephen.osborne@ed.ac.uk


Greta Nasi (Bocconi University, Milan, Italy)

Ricardo C. Gomes (Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), São Paulo, Brazil)

Maria Cucciniello (Bocconi University, Milan, Italy)


Over the years, the concept of value has gained considerable attention from scholars in Public Administration and Management (PAM). Initially, these scholars focused on Public Value (Moore 1995), articulating the importance of creating something substantively valuable for society. Research in this vein has subsequently evolved into a cluster of theories, elaborating, for instance, the substance of public value (e.g., Alford & O’Flynn 2009), its values criteria (e.g., Bozeman 2007), and its creation/destruction in multi-sector involved collaborative governance (e.g., Stoker 2006, Bryson et al. 2017, dos Reis & Gomes 2022). Latterly, the value concept has been further developed through the important debate around Public Service Logic (PSL, Osborne 2021). Proponents of PSL explore public services as ‘services’ – the process of helping people either directly through service encounters or indirectly through products as intermediaries. They hence argued that value creation can take different forms (including individual and public value) and that this takes place within dynamic public service ecosystems (Osborne et al. 2021, 2022). Other emergent work has explored, inter alia, the processes of individual value creation (Hardyman et al. 2019), value creation for multiple stakeholders across public service domains (Powell et al. 2019), the meaning/mechanism of value destruction (Cui & Osborne 2022), and the broader implications of this ongoing debate for PAM theory and practice (Dudau et al. 2019).

Public Value and PSL theories have clearly highlighted the centrality of ‘value’ and ‘value creation’ in understanding the management and performance of public services. However, further work is required. It is not clear, for example, which strategies, structures, and processes can direct and mobilize value creation in PAM practice. Moreover, ‘value’ itself can sometimes be ‘fuzzy’ and ill-defined.  Substantive work is required to evolve the value creation theory and to translate the conceptual discourses on ‘value’ into feasible and practical tools that can direct public service reform in practice. This IRSPM Panel will be dedicated to this task.

Consequently, the purpose of this Panel is to discuss and develop a more nuanced understanding of value and value creation in PAM. In particular, it aims to shed more light on what the practices of value creation are. This Panel welcomes contributions from both new and experienced researchers. Papers can be theoretical/conceptual or empirical. We welcome papers on the following topics especially. However, but the list is not exhaustive, and other perspectives are welcome.

  • The conceptualization of ‘value’ in theory and what comprises ‘value’ in practice.
  • Public service design/co-design from a value creation approach.
  • The process of value creation through co-production.
  • Stakeholder contribution in public services value creation.
  • Citizens motivations for value creation.
  • The meaning and processes of ‘value destruction’ in complex environments.
  • The role of resource integration and orchestration activities in value creation/destruction.
  • Value creation/destruction perspectives on addressing ‘grand challenges’ like the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.
  • Value creation in digital transformation and the application of AI in public services.
  • The implication of value and value creation on public service performance management and evaluation.
  • Value and value creation: evidence from developing regions and the global south.
  • Strategic orientation and culture towards problem solution and value creation.
  • Public service ecosystem and its implications to PAM theory and practice.



Alford, J. & O'Flynn, J. (2009) Making sense of public value: concepts, critiques and emergent meanings. International Journal of Public Administration, 32(3/4), 171–191.

Bozeman, B. (2007) Public values and public interest: counterbalancing economic individualism. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Bryson, J., Sancino, A., Benington, J. & Sørensen, E. (2017) Towards a multi-actor theory of public value co-creation. Public Management Review, 19(5), 640–654.

Cui, T., & Osborne, S. P. (2022). Unpacking value destruction at the intersection between public and private value. Public Administration, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1111/padm.12850

dos Reis, C.J.O. & Gomes, R.C. (2022) Public value creation and appropriation mechanisms in public-private partnerships: how does it play a role? Public Administration, 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1111/padm.12826

Dudau, Adina, Russ Glennon, and Bram Verschuere. (2019) Following the Yellow Brick Road? (Dis) Enchantment with Co-Design, Co-Production and Value Co-Creation in Public Services. Public Management Review, 21(11): 1577–94.

Hardyman, W., Kitchener, M. & Daunt, K. (2019) What matters to me! User conceptions of value in specialist cancer care. Public Management Review, 21(11), 1687–1706.

Moore, M.H. (1995) Creating public value: strategic management in government. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Osborne, S.P. (2021) Public service logic. Creating value for public service users, citizens, and society through public service delivery. New York, NY: Routledge.

Osborne, S.P., Nasi, G. & Powell, M. (2021) Beyond co-production: value creation and public services. Public Administration, 99, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1111/padm.12718

Osborne, S.P., Powell, M., Cui, T. & Strokosch, K. (2022) Value creation in the public service ecosystem: an integrative framework. Public Administration Review, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1111/pua

Powell, M., Gillett, A. & Doherty, B. (2019) Sustainability in social enterprise: hybrid organizing in public services. Public Management Review, 22(2), 159–186.

Stoker, G. (2006) Public value management a new narrative for networked governance? The American Review of Public Administration, 36(1), 41–57.

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