How Can Decision-Makers Cope with the Heterogeneity of Values in Public Innovations

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 11:10 AM
Room: 423
Oral Presentation
Rolf RØNNING , Lillehammer University College, Lillehammer, Norway
Lars FUGLSANG , Lillehammer University college, Lillehammer, Norway
How can decision-makers cope with the heterogeneity of values in public innovations?


In the last two decades the concept of innovation  has been taken from Schumpeters logic of competition at the market to the public sector. In the private sphere the making of profit is essential, and added profit can be seen as added value. For the public sector this is much more complicated, and it has been a large debate about the concept of “public value” since the publication of Moore`s book “Creating Public Value” (1995). Values in the public sector can both be inputs (public ethos) or some sort of outcome (efficiency, improved quality etc.). But both for input and outcome there will be a heterogeneity of values. Beck Jørgensen & Bozeman (2007) are mentioning a “universe of public values”. In the invitation heterogeneity is understood as the “coexistence of different rationales”. We will argue that different set of values can be seen as different rationales. Creating new and innovative solutions in the public sector is part of the struggle for power in society. Different actors will use different parts of the “universe of values” to support their arguments. To get a decision the parts will have to bargain with others about the blend of values they try to realise. The context will influence the weight of different values.

The paper will discuss how the heterogeneity of values is treated in decision-processes in public sector. We will draw on relevant literature about “public values”, but especially on the case-studies in our edited volume “Framing innovations in Public Sector Services” (Fuglsang, Rønning, Enquist (eds.) (Routledge Oct.2013)