A Public Value Strategy for Sustainable Development Goals: Transforming an Existing Organization?

Nicolette van Gestel*, Ewan Ferlie, Sanne Grotenbreg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The Public Value model is widely discussed in the contemporary public management literature. Despite the growing discourse, few associated publications reflect empirical research. The important question of how public organizations, originally based on traditional public administration models, change to become public value-orientated is underexplored. We first review the literature on public value, given alternative models of Traditional Public Administration, New Public Management, and Network Governance. We apply a core analytical framework in the public value literature (the ‘strategic triangle’) to an intensive case study of a large national agency that chose a public value strategy. Although staff support for public value (in the form of sustainable development goals) is significant, constraining factors inherited from prior public management models interfere with realizing public value ambitions ‘purely’. The study enhances an understanding of applying the Public Value model in practice by producing insights about barriers and pre-conditions to such an organizational transition, notably from a wider institutional context. Theoretically, we suggest that the Public Value model has the potential to move to a synergy of elements of existing models in a new configuration. The implications for future research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


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