Rising to Ostrom’s challenge: An invitation to walk on the bright side of public governance and public service

Scott Douglas, Thomas Schillemans, Paul 't Hart*, Christopher Ansell, Lotte Bøgh Andersen, Matthew Flinders, Brian Head, Donald P. Moynihan, Tina Nabatchi, Janine O'Flynn, B. Guy Peters, Jos Raadschelders, Alessandro Sancino, Eva Sørensen, Jacob Torfing

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftKommentar/debatForskningpeer review


In this programmatic essay, we argue that public governance scholarship would benefit from developing a self-conscious and cohesive strand of “positive” scholarship, akin to social science subfields like positive psychology, positive organizational studies, and positive evaluation. We call for a program of research devoted to uncovering the factors and mechanisms that enable high performing public policies and public service delivery mechanisms; procedurally and distributively fair processes of tackling societal conflicts; and robust and resilient ways of coping with threats and risks. The core question driving positive public administration scholarship should be: Why is it that particular public policies, programs, organizations, networks, or partnerships manage do much better than others to produce widely valued societal outcomes, and how might knowledge of this be used to advance institutional learning from positives?
Tidsskrift Policy Design and Practice
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)441-451
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2021

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union?s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement n? 694266).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Public Administration
  • governance success
  • Positive Science
  • effectiveness
  • policy success
  • positive scholarship
  • Public governance
  • high performance

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