Public-Private Partnerships as Hybrid Organizational Drivers of Innovation in the Public Sector

Sofie Dam

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch


    Decision-makers increasingly mention public-private partnerships (PPPs) as potential tools for innovation in the public sector. In contrast, literature on PPPs has mostly evaluated their economic efficiency, whereas their ability to enhance innovation has been subordinated and sometimes assumed. Empirical investigations of innovations in PPPs have been rather scarce and scattered between different PPP types and sectors. This article strives for a more comprehensive and reflexive approach and contribute to an increasing body of literature on public sector innovation by constructing a conceptual framework, which can be used to investigate the potential for innovation in different PPP types across sectors.
    The last decades have seen sequential waves of public sector reforms, which have resulted in an increased hybridity in the public sector, where ideas, goals and tools from hierarchy, market and network forms of governance co-exist, and a multiplicity of actors participate in the governance of society through a variety of organizational forms. Understanding PPPs as true hybrids in the light of these developments enable us to investigate how the diverse and perhaps even conflicting ideas embedded in the organizational form of PPPs provide different mixes of coordination mechanisms for public-private innovation.
    The paper investigates three PPP types, Long-term Infrastructure Partnerships (LTICs), Public-Private Service Partnerships (PPSPs) and Public-Private Innovation Partnerships (PPIPs), and shows how these display different variations of hybridity and provide different possibilities for coordination and hence for the development and implementation of innovative solutions. The three PPP types can be placed at an evolutionary scale from competition to collaboration, where PPIPs are mostly coordinated through collaboration, and LTICs are mostly coordinated through competition, though each PPP type displays a specific mix of both competition and collaboration.
    The article provides a conceptually based explanation for the various degree of innovation in different PPP types displayed in current empirical investigations and points towards unused potentials for PPP innovation. This clarification could be a starting point for more thorough analyses of innovation in PPPs, and contributes to the discussion of how PPPs could fit into a strategy for a more innovative public sector.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2013
    Number of pages47
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventPublic-Private Partnership Conference Series CBS-Sauder-Monash 2013 - Sauder School of Business, The University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC , Vancouver, Canada
    Duration: 13 Jun 201314 Jun 2013
    Conference number: 2


    ConferencePublic-Private Partnership Conference Series CBS-Sauder-Monash 2013
    LocationSauder School of Business, The University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC
    Internet address

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