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Values in Innovation

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Public Sector Management

Guest editors:

Jean Hartley, The Open University, UK 
[email protected]

Rolf Rønning, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway 
[email protected]


Deadline for submission:  30 September 2017. 

Publication of accepted papers in 2018

This call for papers is for theoretical or empirical papers to be published as a special issue on the topic of values in innovation. 

The special issue aims to address an important gap in the public innovation literature –the role of values in public services innovation. To date, innovation in public services has largely followed the dominant logic of private sector innovation (Hartley et al, 2014; Osborne et al,2013; de Vries, 2015), which has downplayed or denied the existence of value conflicts in the processes, outputs or outcomes from innovation.  However, the situation is starting to change, with a stronger literature which addresses the specific challenges and opportunities in public innovation (de Vries et al, 2015; Hartley et al, 2014). 

Value differences and tensions may arise in a variety of ways.  Front-line staff involved in innovation processes may grapple with value tensions as they enact or amend innovative public policies and management strategies.  They may have to address competing priorities in the innovation. Innovation processes may be beneficial for some groups of citizens or service users but less valuable to others.  It has been noted that public policy and public management are inherently contested and political and therefore understanding the role of politicians in innovation is essential (Fuglsang and Rønning, 2014; Oldenhof, Ostma & Putters, 2013).  This includes critically examining the role of politics and politicians in innovation processes, since they are one of the means (though not the only one) by which differences in values are articulated and amplified, muted or addressed (Sørensen, 2016).  These considerations of value tensions and how they are addressed also raise questions about the ultimate value which is created by innovation.  Public value theory (Moore, 2013; Benington and Moore, 2011) may help to surface and analyse what kinds of consequentialist and deontological values prevail in different innovation contexts, and what is added to the public sphere (Benington, 2015) in innovation processes and outcomes. 

The special issue will address both values and public value in the creation, development, diffusion and evaluation of innovations in governance and public services. 

Papers are invited which cover a range of different “phases” of innovation from initial creation at the front-line; through implementation, through to diffusion.  The papers may derive from a range of governance and public services.  We encourage papers from different institutional contexts.  Papers may be theoretical, empirical or both.  A strong literature review paper is also encouraged. 

We intend that the special issue collection will provide both theoretical challenge to frameworks of public innovation by including values, value tensions and different ways to address these, along with detailed empirical studies which enhance conceptual and theoretical understanding of the complex and often contested apects of innovation where a variety of values and interests may be involved.  We hope that the special issue will help to shape a growing confidence in public management and administration that innovation has some distinctive features where it involves the public sphere and therefore should not be over-reliant on the private sector literature on innovation. 


Submission Procedure:

Submissions to this journal are through the ScholarOne submission system here:

Please visit the author guidelines for the journal at which gives full details. Please ensure you select this special issue from the relevant drop down menu on page four of the submission process.

Submission Deadline:
30 September 2017. 


Benington J., (2015).  Public value as a contested democratic practice.  in Bryson J, Crosby B and Bloomberg L   Creating public value in practice.  Boca Raton, FA: Taylor and Francis. 

Benington J and Moore, M (2011)  Public value: Theory and practice.  London: Palgrave Macmillan

De Vries H, Bekkers S and Tummers L 2016 Innovation in the public sector: A systematic review and future research agenda. Public Administration, 94(1), 146-166

Fuglsang,L. and Rønning R (2014) Conclusion: Public sector service innovation in context . In Fuglsang,L, R.Rønning & B.Enquist (eds)  Framing Innovation in Public Service Sectors. New York: Routledge.

Hartley J (2013) Public and private features of innovation.  In Osborne S and Brown L (eds)  Sage Handbook of Innovation in Public Services.  London: Sage.  pp. 44-59.

Hartley J, Sørensen E and Torfing J (2013)  Collaborative innovation: A viable alternative to market-competition and organizational entrepreneurship  Public Administration Review.  73 (6) 821-830.

Moore, M (2013) Recognising public value.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Oldenhof L, Ostma J & Putters K, (2013)  On justification work: How compromising enables public managers to deal with conflicting values.  Public Administration Review, 74 (1), 52–63.

Osborne S and Brown L (eds)  Sage Handbook of Innovation in Public Services.  London: Sage

Sørensen E  (2016).  Political innovations: innovations in political institutions, processes and outputs.  Public Management Review, 19,(1), 1-19.