Public values lost? Comparing cases on contracting out from Denmark and the United States

Torben Beck Jørgensen, Barry Bozeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Has the headlong rush to market competition in the public sector altered the sense of public values? In order to develop an insight into the role of public values, three quite different cases on contracting out are examined. One in Atlanta, Georgia (USA), and two in Denmark (municipalities of Farum and Graested-Gilleleje). To what extent and in what ways are public values taken into account in decisions about contracting out? Are public values lost, recycled, or regained when contracting out? As a starting point, a number of values such as political accountability, regime stability, transparency, social cohesion, user orientation, and efficiency are presented. Following that, news accounts of the three decisions are analysed. The role of values in the three decisions varies considerably. In the Atlanta and Farum cases on water and sewage the paramount concern is with values of cost efficiency, although in sharp contrast to the USA there is no firm belief in Denmark that contracting out will ultimately increase efficiency. In the Graested-Gilleleje case on elderly care--one of the corner stones in the Danish welfare state--one will expect strong opposition and a heated ideological debate. Nevertheless, contracting out has been decided upon and a successful implementation is under way. Although political and cultural contexts and the type of service in question do play an important role in explaining the differences, there are strong indications that political leadership and public management has a role to play and thus a responsibility for how we address the question of public values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-81
Number of pages19
JournalPublic Management Review
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Outsourcing
Sewage
Transparency
Denmark
Contracting out
Public value
Costs
Water

Keywords

  • Comparative public administration
  • Contracting out
  • Privatization
  • Public management
  • Public value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Cite this

Public values lost? Comparing cases on contracting out from Denmark and the United States. / Jørgensen, Torben Beck; Bozeman, Barry.

In: Public Management Review, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2002, p. 63-81.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{3f8e3f091570495a8f72c6f4db401c92,
title = "Public values lost?: Comparing cases on contracting out from Denmark and the United States",
abstract = "Has the headlong rush to market competition in the public sector altered the sense of public values? In order to develop an insight into the role of public values, three quite different cases on contracting out are examined. One in Atlanta, Georgia (USA), and two in Denmark (municipalities of Farum and Graested-Gilleleje). To what extent and in what ways are public values taken into account in decisions about contracting out? Are public values lost, recycled, or regained when contracting out? As a starting point, a number of values such as political accountability, regime stability, transparency, social cohesion, user orientation, and efficiency are presented. Following that, news accounts of the three decisions are analysed. The role of values in the three decisions varies considerably. In the Atlanta and Farum cases on water and sewage the paramount concern is with values of cost efficiency, although in sharp contrast to the USA there is no firm belief in Denmark that contracting out will ultimately increase efficiency. In the Graested-Gilleleje case on elderly care--one of the corner stones in the Danish welfare state--one will expect strong opposition and a heated ideological debate. Nevertheless, contracting out has been decided upon and a successful implementation is under way. Although political and cultural contexts and the type of service in question do play an important role in explaining the differences, there are strong indications that political leadership and public management has a role to play and thus a responsibility for how we address the question of public values.",
keywords = "Comparative public administration, Contracting out, Privatization, Public management, Public value",
author = "J{\o}rgensen, {Torben Beck} and Barry Bozeman",
year = "2002",
doi = "10.1080/14616670110101681",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "4",
pages = "63--81",
journal = "Public Management Review",
issn = "1471-9037",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Public values lost?

T2 - Comparing cases on contracting out from Denmark and the United States

AU - Jørgensen, Torben Beck

AU - Bozeman, Barry

PY - 2002

Y1 - 2002

N2 - Has the headlong rush to market competition in the public sector altered the sense of public values? In order to develop an insight into the role of public values, three quite different cases on contracting out are examined. One in Atlanta, Georgia (USA), and two in Denmark (municipalities of Farum and Graested-Gilleleje). To what extent and in what ways are public values taken into account in decisions about contracting out? Are public values lost, recycled, or regained when contracting out? As a starting point, a number of values such as political accountability, regime stability, transparency, social cohesion, user orientation, and efficiency are presented. Following that, news accounts of the three decisions are analysed. The role of values in the three decisions varies considerably. In the Atlanta and Farum cases on water and sewage the paramount concern is with values of cost efficiency, although in sharp contrast to the USA there is no firm belief in Denmark that contracting out will ultimately increase efficiency. In the Graested-Gilleleje case on elderly care--one of the corner stones in the Danish welfare state--one will expect strong opposition and a heated ideological debate. Nevertheless, contracting out has been decided upon and a successful implementation is under way. Although political and cultural contexts and the type of service in question do play an important role in explaining the differences, there are strong indications that political leadership and public management has a role to play and thus a responsibility for how we address the question of public values.

AB - Has the headlong rush to market competition in the public sector altered the sense of public values? In order to develop an insight into the role of public values, three quite different cases on contracting out are examined. One in Atlanta, Georgia (USA), and two in Denmark (municipalities of Farum and Graested-Gilleleje). To what extent and in what ways are public values taken into account in decisions about contracting out? Are public values lost, recycled, or regained when contracting out? As a starting point, a number of values such as political accountability, regime stability, transparency, social cohesion, user orientation, and efficiency are presented. Following that, news accounts of the three decisions are analysed. The role of values in the three decisions varies considerably. In the Atlanta and Farum cases on water and sewage the paramount concern is with values of cost efficiency, although in sharp contrast to the USA there is no firm belief in Denmark that contracting out will ultimately increase efficiency. In the Graested-Gilleleje case on elderly care--one of the corner stones in the Danish welfare state--one will expect strong opposition and a heated ideological debate. Nevertheless, contracting out has been decided upon and a successful implementation is under way. Although political and cultural contexts and the type of service in question do play an important role in explaining the differences, there are strong indications that political leadership and public management has a role to play and thus a responsibility for how we address the question of public values.

KW - Comparative public administration

KW - Contracting out

KW - Privatization

KW - Public management

KW - Public value

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85006560481&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85006560481&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/14616670110101681

DO - 10.1080/14616670110101681

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85006560481

VL - 4

SP - 63

EP - 81

JO - Public Management Review

JF - Public Management Review

SN - 1471-9037

IS - 1

ER -