Can We Apply Business Strategy Analysis Concepts to the Public Sector?

A special issue of Administrative Sciences (ISSN 2076-3387).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2016) | Viewed by 53215

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Centre for North American Business Studies, Segal Graduate School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC V6C 1W6, Canada
Interests: policy analysis; public-private partnerships; contracting out; outsourcing; corporatization; cost-benefit analysis; business strategy; government and business

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is increasing recognition that strategic analysis is a useful exercise for those public agencies with a reasonably clear and identifiable service delivery purpose (Irwin, 2002; Kelman et al., 2003; Kendrick, 2003, Moore, 2000; Stewart, 2004). For strategic analytic purposes, it does not matter whether the public entity is a “line” department or some form of quasi-autonomous or “corporatized” entity, although these distinctions may well condition the specifics of the analysis.

However, both the theoretical frameworks and analytic techniques and tools that are appropriate for public management generally and public agency strategic analysis specifically are quite open and, indeed, often contentious (Greve, 2015). Vining (2011) argues that some theoretical constructs and tools derived from private sector strategic analysis are useful for public sector analysis with appropriate modification; other public management scholars are more skeptical. The purpose of this Special Issue is to explore these issues. Both original theory and empirical contributions are welcome provide they directly focus on applicability to strategy development in public organizations. Case studies, especially comparative studies, of agency use of strategic analysis tools are also welcome.

Prof. Dr. Aidan R. Vining
Guest Editor

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References

Greve, C. 2015. “Ideas in Public Management Reform for the 2010s. Digitization, Value Creation and Involvement.” Public Organization Review 15: 49–65.

Irwin, D. 2002. “Strategy Mapping in the Public Sector.” Long Range Planning 35(6): 637–47.

Kelman, S. 2007. “Public Administration and Organization Studies.” The Academy of Management Annals 1(1): 225–267.

Kendrick, R. 2003. “Strategic Planning Environment, Process, and Performance in Public Agencies: A Comparative Study of Departments in Milwaukee.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 13(4): 491–519.

Moore, M. H. 2000. “Managing for Value: Organizational Strategy in For-Profit, Nonprofit, and Governmental Organizations.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 29(1): 183–204.

Stewart, J. 2004. “The Meaning of Strategy in the Public Sector.” Australian Journal of Public Administration 63(4): 16–21.

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

586 KiB  
Article
Strategy in the Public and Private Sectors: Similarities, Differences and Changes
by John Alford and Carsten Greve
Adm. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci7040035 - 26 Sep 2017
Cited by 43 | Viewed by 25146
Abstract
Strategic concepts and practices first evolved in the private sector, so they evoked much controversy when they migrated to the public sector from the late 1970s onwards. Partly this was about their (in)applicability to the distinctive features of government organizations, in particular their [...] Read more.
Strategic concepts and practices first evolved in the private sector, so they evoked much controversy when they migrated to the public sector from the late 1970s onwards. Partly this was about their (in)applicability to the distinctive features of government organizations, in particular their focus on public as well as private value, their situation in a political rather than a market environment, their almost exclusive capacity to use legal authority to achieve purposes, and the extent to which they often need to share power over personnel and resources with other public sector agencies. These and other factors complicated efforts to apply New Public Management and similar frameworks in strategy concepts in a governmental context. Partly also the traditional private-sector focus on single organizations did not resonate with the growth of network governance from the 1990s. The authors argue for an alternative model based primarily on the public value framework as a means of incorporating and going beyond traditional strategy thinking. Full article
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232 KiB  
Article
Government Programme as a Strategy—The Finnish Experience
by Jan-Erik Johanson, Elias Pekkola and Päivi Husman
Adm. Sci. 2017, 7(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci7020016 - 24 May 2017
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4812
Abstract
This article uses strategy metaphors consisting of a plan, a home and a game to study government programme formation in Finland. The strategy approach both contradicts and complements the traditional political science approach to government formation. The government programme has been strategic in [...] Read more.
This article uses strategy metaphors consisting of a plan, a home and a game to study government programme formation in Finland. The strategy approach both contradicts and complements the traditional political science approach to government formation. The government programme has been strategic in the sense of separating the formulation and implementation parts of the strategy. The most important function of the metaphor of plan is to hold coalition parties together. The adopted austerity policy provides a meagre contribution to the expansion of services and the increase in government spending. Consequently, the home metaphor in the government programme appears in the distant future and in combating external threats. The game metaphor is apparent in the goal of making contracts with social partners. The vocabulary change from politics to strategy alters the government programme’s position in terms of catering to the needs of civil servants, citizens and stakeholders. The strategy perspective might be instrumental in shifting open democratic debates to closed and secretive policy formations. Full article
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Article
Strategy Implementation Style and Public Service Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Equity
by Rhys Andrews, Malcolm J. Beynon and Elif Genc
Adm. Sci. 2017, 7(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci7010004 - 17 Feb 2017
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 10553
Abstract
Strategic decision-making theories suggest that organizations that combine rational and incremental strategy implementation styles are likely to perform better than those that emphasize a single style. To assess whether these arguments apply to the public sector; we explore the strategy implementation style and [...] Read more.
Strategic decision-making theories suggest that organizations that combine rational and incremental strategy implementation styles are likely to perform better than those that emphasize a single style. To assess whether these arguments apply to the public sector; we explore the strategy implementation style and perceived service effectiveness, efficiency and equity of Turkish municipal government departments. Using fuzzy cluster analysis, we identify four distinctive though inter-related styles of strategy implementation in our sample organizations: logical-incremental; mostly rational; mostly incremental; and no clear approach. A logical-incremental and mostly rational style of implementation are associated with better effectiveness, efficiency and equity; with the absence of an implementation style associated with worse performance. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. Full article
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2946 KiB  
Article
What Is Public Agency Strategic Analysis (PASA) and How Does It Differ from Public Policy Analysis and Firm Strategy Analysis?
by Aidan R. Vining
Adm. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci6040019 - 08 Dec 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 11794
Abstract
Public agency strategic analysis (PASA) is different from public policy analysis because public agency executives face numerous constraints that those performing “unconstrained” policy analysis do not. It is also different from private sector strategic analysis. But because of similar constraints and realities, some [...] Read more.
Public agency strategic analysis (PASA) is different from public policy analysis because public agency executives face numerous constraints that those performing “unconstrained” policy analysis do not. It is also different from private sector strategic analysis. But because of similar constraints and realities, some generic and private sector strategic analysis techniques can be useful to those carrying out PASA, if appropriately modified. Analysis of the external agency environment (external forces) and internal value creation processes (“value chains”, “modular assembly” processes or “multi-sided intermediation platforms”) are the most important components of PASA. Also, agency executives must focus on feasible alternatives. In sum, PASA must be practical. But public executives need to take seriously public value, and specifically social efficiency, when engaging in PASA. Unless they do so, their strategic analyses will not have normative legitimacy because enhancing public value is not the same as in some versions of public value or in agency “profit maximization”. Although similarly constrained, normatively appropriate public agency strategic analysis is not “giving clients what they want” or “making the public sector business case”. PASA must be both practical and principled. Full article
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