Fresh research on public service innovation

INTEGRATE’s Mette Sønderskov, Rolf Rønning and Siv Magnussen have published a new article on public service innovation in Public Policy and Administration.


Innovation has been highlighted as a magic formula that can solve deep-seated, emerging complex social and economic problems in the public service sector. However, public innovation efforts face both drivers and barriers. Innovation depends on context, and currently different competing governance paradigms’ influence has attracted growing academic and political interest regarding the potential of public service innovation. Today, new public governance (NPG) has been suggested as an alternative paradigm to classic public administration (CPA) and new public management (NPM), as the focus of attention has shifted from traditional hierarchical forms of government and market-based competition strategies to interactive- and collaborative-based governance. In this paper, we discuss how elements from different governance paradigms interact, support and undermine one another in terms of innovation in hybrid organisations. Although hybridisation has been described in extant studies on administrative welfare reforms, it barely has been examined in the public innovation literature. This is a theoretical paper based on a scoping review; however, we use the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) as an illustrative case to explain how hybridisation may lead to both stimulations and perversions regarding the development, implementation and spread of public service innovation. Finally, the paper reflects on how public leaders can handle hybridity within their organisational units.

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