Public Value and Guarantor of Public Values and the Public Sphere

This growing interest is in part due to the importance, urgency, scope, and scale of public problems facing the world; the pragmatic recognition that governments alone cannot effectively address many of these problems; and a concern that public values have been and will be lost as a result of a powerful anti-government rhetoric and a host of market-based and performance-based reforms. Following Dewey, the public value literature and the emerging approach to public administration represent the products of a practitioner and scholarly “public called into being” over these concerns.

In the emerging approach government clearly has a special role to play as a creator of public value and guarantor of public values and the public sphere, but in a market-based democracy, govern ment is not the owner of all the processes and institutions having public value potential or obligations. The literatures on cross-sector collaboration, integrative leadership, and networked governance are all responses to the new context, in which public managers frequently must collaborate with nonprofits, businesses, the media, and citizens to accomplish public purposes. A major contribution of the public value literature is the way it draws attention to questions about: (a) the public purposes that are or should be served by organizations in all sectors, by intra- and cross sector collaborations, by more general governance arrangements, and by public leadership broadly defined; and (b) how public man agers and leaders do and should accomplish these purposes. These are important normative and research-related questions needing to be pursued in the new context.

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