Co-production as a tool for realisation of public services


Objective: New public governance is one of the most popular paradigms in public administration management. The aim of this article is to examine the co-production of public services, which is gaining interest in many European countries, including Poland, and to find out how co-production is defined, what the reasons to pay attention to this tool are, how we can distinguish between different models of co-production and, last but not least, what the possibilities and drawbacks of introducing it into practice are.

Research Design & Methods: The article is a literature review based on the most important public management journals.

Findings: In conclusion, the author shows new ways of defining co-production and presents a proposal for further research strategies for the co-production of public services.

Implications / Recommendations: The meaning of co-production of public services has varied over the last few years due to the fact that various new elements have emerged. Therefore there is still a huge field, to cover such as conducting research about the use of social media in the co-production of public services.

Contribution / Value Added: The most recent literature review about co-production was conducted by Vooberg in 2014. As a result, this article refreshes the knowledge about it and proposes a new research agenda for the future.

Article Classification: Theoretical article: original literature review.

JEL classification: R50


public management; public policy; co-production; public governance; social participation

Alford, J. (2009). Engaging Public Sector Clients. From Service Delivery to Co-production. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan UK.
Alford, J., & Head, B. (2017). Wicked and less wicked problems: a typology and a contingency framework. Policy and Society, 36(3), 397–413.
Brandsen, T., Steen, T., & Verschuere, B. (Eds.). (2018). Co-production and Co-creation. Engaging Citizens in Public Services. London: Routledge.
Brudney, J., & England, R. (1983). Toward a definition of the coproduction concept. Public Administration Review, 43(1), 59–65.
Bovaird, T. (2007). Beyond engagement and participation: User and community co-production of public services. Public Administration Review, 67(5), 846–860.
Bovaird, T., & Loeffler, E. (2016a). User and community co-production of public services: What does the evidence tell us? International Journal of Public Administration, 39(13), 1006–1019.
Bovaird, T., & Loffler, E. (Eds.). (2016b). Public Management and Governance. New York: Routledge.
Bovaird, T., Ryzin, G., Loeffler, E., & Parrado, S. (2015). Activating citizens to participate in collective coproduction of public services. Journal of Social Policy, 44(1), 1–23.
Brandsen, T., & Pestoff, V. (2014). Co-production, the third sector and the delivery of public service. Public Management Review, 8(4), 493–501.
Ciasullo, M., Palumbo, R., & Troisi, O. (2017). Reading public service co-production through the lenses of requisite variety. International Journal of Business and Management, 12(2), 1–13.
Eijk, C., Steen, T., & Verschuere, B. (2017). Co-producing safety in the local community: A Q-methodology study on the incentives of Belgian and Dutch members of neighbourhood watch schemes. Local Government Studies, 43(3), 323–343.
Farr, M. (2016). Co-production and value co-creation in outcome-based contracting in public services. Public Management Review, 18(5), 654–672.
Fledderus, J. (2015). Building trust through public service co-production. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 28(7), 550–565.
Fugini, M., Bracci, E., & Sicilia, M. (Eds.). (2016). Co-production in the Public Sector. Experiences and Challenges. Milan: Springer.
Gawłowski, R. (2018). Co-production of public services in terms of the Polish experience. Polish Political Science Yearbook, 47(1), 110–120.
Mazur, S. (Ed.). (2015). Public Governance. Warsaw: Scholar Publishing House.
Hausner, J. (2015). Governance and its conceptual foundations. In S. Mazur (Ed.), Public Governance (pp. 17–36). Warsaw: Scholar Publishing House.
Mazur, S. (Ed.). (2018). Public Policy and the Neo-Weberian State. New York: Routledge.
Meijer, A. (2016). Co-production as a structural transformation of the public sector. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 29(6), 596–611.
OECD. (2011). Together for Public Services. Partnering with Citizens and Civil Society.
Osborne, D., & Geabler, T. (1993). How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector. Toronto: Penguin Group.
Osborne, S., & Strokosch, K. (2013). It takes two to tango? Understanding the co-production of public services by integrating the services management and public administration perspectives. British Journal of Management, 24(S1), S31–S47.
Osborne, S., Radnor, Z., & Strokosch, K. (2016). Coproduction and the co-creation of value in public services. Public Management Review, 18(5), 639–653.
Ostrom, E. (1972). Metropolitan reform: Propositions derived from two traditions. Social Science Quarterly, 53(3), 474–493.
Ostrom, V., Ostrom, E. (1971). Public choice: A different approach to the study of public administration. Public Administration Review, 31, 203–216.
Podgórniak-Krzykacz, A. (2015). Co-production for local public services – a case study of the cooperative Hallenbad Norten-Hardenbert. Zarządzanie Publiczne, 2(30), 165–176.
Pollitt, C., & Bouckaert, G. (2011). Public Management Reform. A comparative analysis: new public management, governance, and the neo-Weberian state. New York: Oxford University Press.
Putnam, R. (1993). Making Democracy Work. Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Radnor, Z., Osborne, S., Kinder, T., & Mutton J. (2014). Operationalising co-production in public services delivery. The contribution of service blueprinting. Public Management Review, 16(3), 402–423.
Stoker, G. (2006). Why Politics Matters: Making Democracy Work. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Sześciło, D. (2015a). Współzarządzanie jako koprodukcja usług publicznych. Zarządzanie Publiczne, 1(31), 13–21.
Sześciło, D. (2015b). Governance in public services. In S. Mazur (Ed.), Public Governace (pp. 286–301). Warsaw: Scholar Publishing House.
Sześciło, D. (2017). Administracja neoweberowska: biurokracja 2.0?, article available on the website (accessed on 14.06.2017).
Thomas, J. (2012). Citizen, Customer, Partner. Engaging the Public in Public Management. New York: M.E. Sharp Inc.
Virtanen, P., & Stenvall, J. (2014). The evolution of public services form co-production to co-creation and beyond. The International Journal of Leadership in Public Service, 10(2), 100–115.
Voorberg, W. (2017). Co-Creation and Co-Production as a Strategy for Public Service Innovation: A study to their appropriateness in a public sector context. Rotterdam: Erasmus University.
Vooberg, W., Bekkers V., & Trummers L. (2014). A systematic review of co-creation and co-production: Embarking on the social innovation journey. Public Management Review, 17(9), 1333–1357.
Warren, A., Sulaiman, A., & Jaafar, N. (2014). Social media effects on fostering online civic engagement and building citizen trust and trust in institutions, Government Information Quarterly, 31(2), 291–301.
Weber, M. (1978). Economy and Society. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Witte, K., & Geys, B. (2013). Citizen co-production and efficient public good provision: Theory and evidence from public libraries. European Journal of Operational Research, 224, 137–148.
Zdybała, A. (2012). Polityki publiczne. Doświadczenia w tworzeniu i wykonywaniu programów publicznych w Polsce i innych krajach. Warszawa: Krajowa Szkoła Administracji Publicznej.

Published : 2018-09-12

Gawłowski, R. (2018). Co-production as a tool for realisation of public services. Public Governance / Zarządzanie Publiczne, ((44)2), 71-81.

Robert Gawłowski 
WSB University in Toruń Department of Finance and Management in Bydgoszcz ul. Fordońska 74 85-719 Bydgoszcz  Poland


Download data is not yet available.