P06 Exploring value and value creation from a service perspective

Corresponding Chair and Review Group Chair

Dr. Tie Cui (University of Edinburgh Business School, Edinburgh, UK), Email: tie.cui@ed.ac.uk


Professor. Stephen P. Osborne (University of Edinburgh Business School, Edinburgh, UK)

Dr. Greta Nasi (Bocconi University, Milan, Italy)

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

Dr. Maria Cucciniello (Bocconi University, Milan, Italy)


The last few decades have witnessed a shift in public administration (PA) theory and practice, moving away from a preoccupation with governments and their efficiency towards a growing emphasis on inter-organizational networks and collaboration. Although significant, collaborative theories generally concentrate on the interaction and relationship between public service organizations (PSOs), often overlooking the role of citizens, users and the impact of the wider environment. To address this shortcoming, an emerging group of scholars has argued for the importance of adopting ‘a service perspective’ (Eriksson & Hellstrom, 2020).

Public Service Logic (PSL) is a representative theory that elaborates on this ‘service perspective’ (Osborne, 2021). It draws upon the service management literature (e.g., Gronroos, 2017; Vargo et al., 2017) to present a new understanding of public services as ‘services’. Following this new understanding, PSL theory shifts the focus away from a fixation on the production of public services to their use and consumption, as well as how they can add value to both citizens and society. It has subsequently inspired an expanding group of scholars to explore various aspects of public services. They include, for example, public service co-design (Trischler & Trischler, 2022); co-production (Landi & Russo, 2021); resource integration (Eriksson & Hellstrom, 2020); public service ecosystems (Petrescu, 2019); and the downside of public services as value destruction (Cui & Osborne 2022).

At the heart of these studies lies a revitalization of the concepts of ‘value’ and ‘value creation’ (Osborne et al., 2021; 2022). Deviating from New Public Management that views value as an economic term only, theories like PSL understand value as the ‘overall changes in the welling being’ of individuals, organizations and society (Cui & Aulton, 2023). The creation of external, positive value has been articulated as the desired outcome and key metric of public services (Hodgkinson et al., 2017).


The purpose of this panel is to develop a more nuanced understanding of value and value creation in PAM. In particular, it aims to shed further light on the practices of value creation. This Panel welcomes contributions from both new and experienced researchers. Papers can be theoretical, conceptual or empirical. Both qualitative and quantitative studies are welcomed and we particularly anticipate empirical investigations that adopts new and innovative methodologies.

Notably, this is NOT a panel dedicated to Public Service Logic. We welcome studies adopting varying theoretical lenses and frameworks. However, our starting point is to encourage research on ‘value’ and ‘value creation’ from a ‘service perspective’. This means we call for research that: (1) recognizes public services as ‘services’ - the application of specialized competencies (knowledge and skills) for the benefit of another entity (Vargo & Lusch, 2004) (2) approaches ‘value’ as the external impacts of public services, rather than something embedded within public service organisations alone or viewed purely in economic terms. However, although we recognize the important discourse on ‘public value’ in PA literature, this panel is not the appropriate platform for the research solely discussing the public value paradigm and its implications.

Following a service perspective, existing studies have clearly emphasized the centrality of ‘value creation’ in comprehending 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. 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. Similarly, work is required both to consider the impact of digital/AI technology and to explore approaches to the evaluation of value and value creation processes. This IRSPM Panel will be dedicated to this task.

We welcome papers on the following topics especially.

  • What comprises ‘value’ and ‘value creation’
  • Public service design/co-design, both physically and virtually
  • Public service co-production
  • Stakeholder contribution to value creation
  • Citizens’ motivations for value creation
  • Value (co-)destruction
  • Resource integration and orchestration activities
  • Value creation in digital transformation and the application of AI in public services
  • The implication of value and value creation for public service performance management and evaluation – and vice versa
  • Strategic orientation and culture towards problem solution and value creation
  • Public service ecosystem and its implications