Leading co-production: Three leadership styles and how they affect the quality and public value of co-production processes

Anne Tortzen

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskning


This paper analyzes co-production from a governance perspective, thereby conceptualizing co-production as a form of pluricentric governance (Hughes, 2010; Rhodes, 1996) aimed at developing collaboration between the public sector and the civil society to generate better outcomes, enhance innovation and increase public value (Bovaird & Löffler, 2012; Osborne, 2010). The paper argues that a deeper understanding of the dynamics of co-production can be gained from analyzing the leadership dimension of co-production processes, which has hitherto not been given much attention by co-production researchers (Schlappa & Imani, 2012; Tortzen, 2016). The aim of the paper is to contribute to the scholarly debate on co-production by advancing our understanding of the role played by leadership in co-production processes both conceptually and empirically. The key question raised in the paper is: How do different leadership styles executed by public managers affect the quality and public value of co-production processes? The paper argues that publicly initiated co-production initiatives are influenced by conflicting governance logics placing public managers in an institutional cross pressure (Lowndes & Roberts, 2013). Leadership of co-production processes thus navigates between on the one hand a New Public Management logic operating with strict deadlines, demand of measurable deliveries and mistrust in employees and civil society actors, and on the other hand a New Public Governance approach, stressing the importance of building networks and relations, developing trust and focusing on empowerment and on the participants' resources to develop innovative solutions Drawing on three qualitative case studies of ‘most likely' co-production cases in Danish municipalities, the study identifies three different leadership styles applied by the public managers in coping with the conflicting governance logic i.e. a ‘selective', a ‘divided' and a ‘linking' strategy respectively. It demonstrates how the different strategies enacted by the managers affect the quality and consequently the value creation and innovation potential of the co-production process. Whereas the ‘selective' and ‘divided' strategies are shown to hamper co-production, the ‘linking' strategy applied by public managers is shown to enhance collaboration, resulting in a relatively higher quality of the co-production process and a better public value. The paper finally reflects on the relevance of these findings for public managers' governance and leadership of co-production processes aimed at social innovation and public value.
Publikationsdato6 jun. 2017
Antal sider25
StatusUdgivet - 6 jun. 2017
BegivenhedPublic Service Innovation Conference - Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Lillehammer, Norge
Varighed: 15 nov. 201717 nov. 2017


KonferencePublic Service Innovation Conference
LokationInland Norway University of Applied Sciences
AndetInnovation is often articulated as a panacea for addressing social and economic problems in the modern world. However the models of innovation that are posed in this context have often drawn from private sector experience in an undifferentiated way that conflates the manufacturing of products with the delivery of services, and have not taken into account he distinctive characteristics of public rather than private services.<br/><br/>In recent years this has begun to evolve, with an important body of knowledge on public service delivery emerging – for example, there was a special issue of Public Management Review devoted to this topic in 2014, whilst a major research programme of the European Commission on this topic has recently been concluded (LIPSE). Important international conferences sponsored by IRSPM were also held in Shanghai and in Budapest in 2015.


  • samskabelse, ledelse, netværksstyring

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