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Mission(s) impossible? Configuring values in the governance of state-owned enterprises
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD).
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Public Sector Management, ISSN 0951-3558, E-ISSN 1758-6666, Vol. 28, no 4-5, 286-306 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to theory of hybrid organizations, with particular regard to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and their ability to contribute to sustaining value pluralism in the public sector.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper offers a qualitative case concerning ongoing performance management reforms in the corporate governance of SOEs in Sweden, which is analyzed using theory on valuation and evaluation.

Findings – It is found that the number of non-financial values is reduced with reference to categorization. Attempts are made to change the perception of the potential value conflict at hand between financial and non-financial missions by adding a number of neutralizing “meta values” such as transparency and efficiency to the performance language in use. There is a risk of mission drift as a clear hierarchization of values, prioritizing financial values, is created and sustained in “investment teams.” Processes, standards and dialogues are all dominated by an economic logic despite formal aspirations to balance the values at stake. The few remaining non-financial values are translated into economic language aiming for a commensuration of the performance of the different missions. In addition, the ambition of the public policy assignment may be further reduced by de-coupling.

Originality/value – The paper suggests a novel approach to hybrid organizations in general and SOEs in particular when exploring how the values underlying complex missions are configured in “value work” performed by government officials in Swedish government offices. Such analyses of value work in the micro-practice of hybrids offer a more fine-grained understanding of organizational dilemmas that are commonly acknowledged, but more seldom explained in empirical detail.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 28, no 4-5, 286-306 p.
Keyword [en]
Corporate governance, Investment management, Performance indicator, Public management, Public values, SOE
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-123711DOI: 10.1108/IJPSM-08-2015-0151ISI: 000366620300002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-123711DiVA: diva2:876114
Available from: 2015-12-02 Created: 2015-12-02 Last updated: 2016-03-11Bibliographically approved

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Alexius, SusannaCisneros Örnberg, Jenny
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Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE)Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD)
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