P39 SIG Governing and managing hybridity

Panel Chairs:
Marieke van Genugten, Giuseppe Grossi, Philip Karré, Jan-Erik Johanson, Ulf Papenfuss and Jarmo Vakkuri

Corresponding Chair:
Jan-Erik Johanson, jan-erik.johanson@tuni.fi

Governance forms in-between public and private spheres are becoming more common and extremely influential in society. Likewise, scholarly attention for hybridity, hybrid governance, hybrid organizations and hybrid professionalism has increased. The aim of this SIG is to join researchers from traditionally separate areas of study to have an open debate on governing and managing hybridity in society, aimed at dealing with complex societal issues. In modern institutional life, hybrids, hybrid governance and hybridity appear in many forms (Billis, 2010; Christensen & Lægreid, 2010; Emery & Giauque, 2014; Van Gestel, Denis & Ferlie, 2015; Anheier & Krlev, 2015; Johanson & Vakkuri 2017). For instance, universities, health care organisations, social enterprises and state-owned enterprises are regarded as types of hybrid organisations. What they all have in common is that they have to reconcile different and often conflicting institutional logics in order to be sustainable. In addition, one can see hybrids at micro, meso and macro levels of societal activity consisting of networks between business firms, public agencies and other organisations. Cleantech industry, national innovation systems and global air travel are showcases of such hybrid governance arrangements.

Hybridity may be the biggest strength of all these organizational forms and arrangements, as it helps them to generate innovation and synergies. It is also their biggest potential downfall, as it can lead to excessive ambiguity, accountability problems and value clashes. This makes hybridity and its effects an important field of study, as public service provision in a complex and dynamic world increasingly depends on the activities of hybrid organizations and is often taking place within hybrid governance arrangements. By their nature, hybrids are equipped to satisfy business aims and public policy goals simultaneously. In performance measurement, hybrids have the opportunity to apply multiple yardsticks in the evaluation of their activities. Furthermore, hybrids need to pay attention to several, often contrasting principles in balancing their goals, acquiring resources from multiple sources and legitimising the value of their activities to customers, citizens and stakeholder groups.

This SIG panel aims to facilitate important research discussion in the public management community, because hybrid arrangements are ill understood, poorly classified and difficult to evaluate. Hybrids may appear as bad business, which does not fulfil standards for intelligible profit-seeking or hollow politics where important social choices have already been made. This panel seeks a novel balance between these principles by discussing hybrid organisations and other forms of hybridity as important examples of modern institutional diversity. We seek conceptual, theoretical and empirical papers assessing developments between public and private spheres of activity. The topics of the papers may be associated with, but are not limited to the following:

  • Shared ownership between public and private owners in different institutional settings
  • Governance, accountability and management of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) at all government levels, described with different terms
  • Goal incongruence and different institutional logics in the same organization
  • Variety in the sources of financing societally important activities
  • Differentiated forms of economic and social control in service delivery