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New Public Organizing: Towards collaborative innovation in the public sector
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Industrial Economics and Organisation. (Nya Managementpraktiker)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6823-4925
2017 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In the light of a public dissatisfaction with organizational practices associated with new public management, new organizational forms and processes are sought after. In a Swedish municipality, aiming at establishing new working patterns for achieving social sustainability, a pilot project has been launched in order to challenge existing preferred ways of organizing. Parallel a research project follows this development, where the aim of this paper is to extract insights from the study as well as discuss public organization.

The research follows a participatory action approach, here described as Multi-Level Participatory Action Research (MLPAR), where this paper sums up a period of building relationships and knowledge in a multi-levelled organization. The material has been collected through complementary methods including a longitudinal recorded and transcribed discussion with two project managers, reoccurring discussions with strategists, semi-structured interviews with eight project members as well as document analysis.

The results indicate that there is a movement towards something post NPM that for this project can be labelled as seeking collaborative innovation for social sustainability, but that the municipality’s present organization and processes hinders more profound changes. This movement could be ascribed a current interest in ideas associated with NPG, but as the study reveals that new organizational forms are sought for without any clear directives, a more careful stance towards the NPG label is called for. What instead is most prominent in the study is the explorative movement towards new organizational forms, where an empirical grounded label for what actually can be observed, like New Public Organizing (NPO), would be more accurate. The new label also opens up for new perspectives on public organizations where collaborating for public values is given more attention at the expense of governing issues.

Taking a collaborative approach to building society rests on an idea of reciprocity but also a need to submerge once own interests for common goals that are defined within diverse relationships at the rim of the municipal organization. This does not comply well with central ideas of NPM, such as clarity and control, which for this project creates tension with current structures not to say dominating ideas of what a municipality is and how it should work. Looking more freely upon the creation of public values, beyond what public organizations can contribute with, the article suggest that we should more carefully study different Coordinators for Public Values (CPV). The search for new organizational forms in building public good and public values, visible through the project, also raises questions about how we define democracy. Current democratic procedures and power structures might need to adapt to a new ideological landscape where values about e.g. social sustainability is allowed to influence not only elections but maybe even more profoundly guide a reorganization of the role and function of municipalities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
Collaborative innovation, New public organizing (NPO), Coordinators of public values (CPV), Public organizations, Multi-level participatory action research (MLPAR)
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-37406OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-37406DiVA, id: diva2:1163541
Conference
Nordisk företagsekonomisk förening, Bodø, Norge, 2017
Projects
Samverkansprojektet
Available from: 2017-12-07 Created: 2017-12-07 Last updated: 2018-01-09Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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