P9 Connecting value and values: the future of public administration?

Panel Chairs:
Janine O'Flynn and Lisa Carson

Corresponding Chair:
Janine O’Flynn, j.oflynn@anzsog.edu.au

This panel will explore current and potential interconnections between two important themes in public management: value and values. We invite participants who are interested in the intersection of these concepts and how we can build bridges between the various concepts and levels of analysis to submit an abstract to the panel. Papers are expected to confront these issues, not focus on one or the other (i.e. value or values), and should consider questions of level of analysis.

The field of public management has few “umbrella concepts” (Hirsch & Levin, 1999; Alford & O’Flynn, 2009). Often ideas emerge, are contested, collapse, or morph. Few, it seems, develop into stable umbrella concepts that help to define our field. One of the aims of this panel is to explore value and values and whether they represent defining ideas in the field.

Participants in this panel may focus on exploring how we can connect the various stories of value and values: for example, value as the story of public wealth creation; value creation as the story of strategic management in the public sector; and values as the story of norms, ethos and motivation. Or they may focus on how we can better understand and bridge between micro, meso and macro considerations of value and values, or the dynamics that exist between and across these levels (McTaggart & O’Flynn, 2015; Moynihan, 2018; Roberts, 2019).

Our panel builds on a pre-IRSPM workshop held in 2019 which started to sketch out some of these connections, tensions, and questions. For the 2020 panel, the co-chairs with provide a scoping paper for panel participants; all participants will be expected to reflect on this paper in their paper, the presentation, and in discussion.

The panel will be held in workshop mode rather than the standard format of paper presentations, but all selected participants must prepare a full paper and commit to attending all sessions of the panel. There will be several points through the panel for discussion and reflection. The final session of the panel will be focused on discussion and planning for special issue and/or book project.


Alford, J. & O’Flynn, J. (2009). Making sense of public value. International Journal of Public Administration, 32(3-4): 171-191.
Hirsch, P. & Levin, D. (1999). Umbrella advocates versus validity police, Organization Science, 10 (2): 199–212.
McTaggart, D., & O’Flynn, J. (2015). Public sector reform. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 74(1): 13-22.
Moynihan, D. (2018). A Great Schism Approaching? Towards a micro and macro public administration? Journal of Behavioral Public Administration, 1(1): 1-8.
Roberts, A. (2019). Bridging levels of public administration, University of Amherst, SSRN. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3291763