A Public Values Perspective
Edited by Peter Leisink, Paul Boselie, Maarten van Bottenburg and Dian Marie Hosking
Chapter 15: Concluding analysis
The chapters in this book have approached the study of the management of social issues in various ways, giving rich answers to the questions that are central to the public values perspective that characterizes our approach. In this concluding analysis, we examine the answers that the contributors have given to these questions. We end by discussing five issues that are key to a public values perspective on managing social issues, but first the questions and‘answers’. Brewer notes that some of the classic social problems such as crime, disease, illiteracy and unemployment have principally been addressed through social policy, but that the government’s lead role in providing for citizens’ needs has been severely criticized in recent years. This has led not only to cutbacks in government spending but also to the replacement of direct government intervention by them sharing responsibilities with non-profit and private organizations. The result, Brewer claims, is that it is getting harder to manage social issues. Brewer observes that the set of public values that is relevant to social services, and which is deeply rooted in its history, is not self-evidently shared in network settings. This set of public values consists of accountability, due process, economy, effectiveness, efficiency, equity, ethicalness, justice, quality, respect, responsiveness, satisfaction, stewardship and transparency. These values are substantive, meaningful touchstones for public officials. Ultimately, public officials should aspire to create something of public value for citizens and they should be guided by public values as performance targets in their work. However, in a multi-sector network, each entity will have its own notion of what constitutes good performance. Brewer suggests that, in network settings, dimensions of performance such as good stewardship, sustainability and equity gain prominence. Thus, network managers must learn how to manage in terms of public values and how to harness public service motivation to effectively implement social policies in network settings.
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