The IIAS Study Group on Coproduction of Public Services is organizing its second open meeting. Our aim is to create and nurture an intellectual platform for the theoretical discussion and empirical analysis of coproduction and its implications for the organization and management of public services.
Coproduction refers to the involvement of both citizens and public sector professionals in the delivery of public services. Although Countries differ in the extent to which citizens play a role in the provision of public services, the idea of coproduction is gaining ground around the world. Financial crises, austerity in public finances, and growing doubts about the legitimacy of both the public sector and the market, have led numerous governments to involve and cooperate with citizens and civil society in the production of public services.
Unfortunately, practice is leading both theory and research, and there is a need to bring together theoretical insights and empirical data to enable a better understanding of public service coproduction. Specifically, this study group is interested in:
- Coproduction in different national and policy contexts. What ideological and normative stances about the role of government shape the debate on coproduction? What variations are seen across the policy fields in which coproduction takes place? What variations are seen in national (western and non-western) structures of service provision, and what factors explain this variation?
- The organization and structure of public service organizations. Do existing structures enhance or work against coproduction? How can public service organizations be better structured to utilize coproduction processes and approaches?
- Challenges of coproduction for the work of public sector professionals. How can professionals find ways to meaningfully interact with people using and coproducing services? What are the (dis)incentives for professionals in promoting and using coproduction?
- The role, capacity, and willingness of citizens to engage in coproduction. What characteristics distinguish citizen-coproducers from passive service recipients? What motivates citizens to engage in coproduction?
- The potential benefits and pitfalls of directly involving citizens in the production of public services. What is the impact of coproduction on efficiency, democratization, responsiveness, accountability of public service delivery?
- The way in which coproduction is accommodated in public law and/or constitutional law. How do various legal frameworks support (or not) coproduction? How can law be enhanced to further and sustain coproduction activities?
- The relationship between public spending and coproduction. What financial models can be used to nurture coproduction? Can coproduction compensate for the withdrawal of public spending in times of financial crisis, or does collaboration with citizen-users demand additional resources?
- What are the implications of a service-recipient/coproducer dominant approach to public services for the further study of public administration? What insights can be brought in from other disciplines, such as political science, law, economics, psychology, sociology and history? What insights can be gathered from complementing research on coproduction with research on active citizenship, service management and customer engagement, or citizen self-organization?