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Unpacking value destruction at the intersection between public and private value

Cui, Tie; Osborne, Stephen P.


Tie Cui

Stephen P. Osborne


Public services do not always create value. Rather, when poorly organized and/or delivered, they can destroy value and make service users’ lives worse. However, such ‘value destruction’ is presently weakly conceptualized in public management theory. Consequently, this paper is devoted to the empirical examination of value destruction and hence its conceptualization. At the heart of the paper, we recognize the multiplicity of public value and private value objectives in complex public service environments and the dyadic tension between these two value constellations. Drawing upon qualitative data derived from public carbon reduction projects, we establish a conceptual framework. This framework accounts both for the types of value destruction and for the tension between public and private value. Subsequently, the framework disentangles the value destruction concept into four categories: value ignorance, value disproportion, value backlash and value exploitation. Finally, the implications of this new conceptual framework for public management theory and practice are explored.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 30, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 6, 2022
Publication Date 2023-12
Deposit Date Apr 11, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 12, 2022
Journal Public Administration
Print ISSN 0033-3298
Electronic ISSN 1467-9299
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 101
Issue 4
Pages 1207-1226
Keywords Value destruction, Public value, Public service logic, Value co-creation, Value
Public URL


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