The SERVICE framework: a public service-dominant approach to sustainable public services

Stephen Osborne, Zoe Radnor, Tony Kinder, Isabel Vidal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Building upon the call of Ashworth et al (2013) for more theoretical critique and development of public management theory, the central argument of this paper is that the premises that underlie much contemporary public management theory, in its guise as the New Public Management (NPM), are flawed and have led to variable results in implementation. Far from creating the basis for sustainable public service organisations (PSOs) this body of theory has actually undermined their sustainability by encouraging a short term, introspective and transactional approach to the delivery of public services (Radnor & Barnes 2007, McLaughlin et al 2009). We offer an alternative to this, based within the public service-dominant framework for public services delivery (Osborne et al 2013). We argue that it is essential for PSOs to move beyond the transactional approach and take a relational and public service-dominant approach that emphasises three elements: building relationships across the public service delivery system; understanding that sustainability derives from the transformation of user knowledge and; professional understanding of the public service delivery process which is predicated upon the inalienable co-production with service users.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-438
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Issue number3
Early online date30 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


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