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Nina on Public Value Creation

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Presentation on "Public Value Creation" by oikos PhD Fellow Nina Hug, held during the PhD Colloquium at the oikos Spring Meeting 2009 in Oslo, 26 March 2009

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Nina on Public Value Creation

  1. 1. From "Accountability" to "Public Value" in NPO: case study of a swiss development aid organization Nina Hug PD Dr. Urs Jäger University of St.Gallen Center for Leadership and Values in Society Tigerbergstrasse 2 CH-9000 St. Gallen Telefax +41 71 224-2355 E-mail [email_address] Center for Leadership and Values in Society
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Legitimization of NPO: How to display Public Value? </li></ul><ul><li>State of research: &quot;accountability&quot; in the NPO-Literature </li></ul><ul><li>Theoretical construct: patterns of &quot;public value creation&quot; – a relational &quot;accountability&quot;- concept </li></ul><ul><li>Research question / method / data </li></ul><ul><li>Discourse Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Data Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>The case: Swissdevelope* – swiss development cooperation </li></ul><ul><li>Empirical findings </li></ul><ul><li>Contribution to literature </li></ul><ul><li>*synonym </li></ul>
  3. 3. Legitimization of NPO: How to display Public Value? <ul><li>“ Improving nonprofit accountability is one of the most important issues facing the sector.” (Benjamin 2008) – 3 reasons for accountability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>staff motivation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>account for spending donated money </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>allocate resources effectively </li></ul></ul><ul><li>nonprofits were recently accused of not spending money received from donations in a responsible way (Lee 2004, Stephenson/Chavez 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>rapidly changing environments in which NPO operate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Morrison/Salipante (2008): stakeholder are better informed, more attentive and more activist. They ask for evidence that the organization is having an impact on social problems. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ospina et al. (2008): the more diverse the stakeholder landscape of nonprofits, the greater the need for processes that channel expectations towards them and provide a platform on which success may be assessed. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. State of research: &quot;accountability&quot; in the NPO-Literatur e <ul><li>strategic vs. normative approach to &quot;accountability&quot; (Benjamin, 2008; Christensen & Ebrahim, 2006; Ebrahim, 2003; Ospina, Diaz, & O'Sullivan, 2002) </li></ul><ul><li>The public as legitimization reference body vs. specific stakeholders as reference (Christensen & Ebrahim, 2006; Brown & Moore, 2001; Ebrahim, 2003; Moore, 2000, 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>Accountability as socially constructed : accountability efforts are reflective of relationships among organizational actors. ( Ebrahim, 2005 ); negotiate criteria, measures and interpretations for success (Morrison, 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>lateral, upstream, downstream “accounatbility”: learning process in NPO(Christensen & Ebrahim, 2006; Ebrahim, 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Research Gap </li></ul><ul><li>very few studies demonstrate how accountability discourses within nonprofits are managed. </li></ul><ul><li>Although Benjamin (2008) and Ospina et al. (2002) stress that accountability should be negotiated with stakeholders, they do not pursue processes of negotiation </li></ul><ul><li>Benjamin (2008) and Ospina et al. (2002) suggest that negotiated accountability results in win-win-situation but do not look much into how this happens. </li></ul>Research question To what kind of accountability discourses do organizational members refer during internal negotiations on the public value of the organizations’ central services?
  5. 5. Theoretical construct: patterns of &quot;public value creation&quot; – a relational &quot;accountability&quot;- concept (Brown/Moore 2001 & Moore 2000, 2003) <ul><li>Legitimation </li></ul><ul><li>of any nonprofit depends on their ability to achieve publicly valuable results </li></ul><ul><li>to legitimize themselves organizations must show that they have a social raison d’être beyond their own survival </li></ul><ul><li>„ Raison d‘être“ lies in creating publicly relevant results </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Public Value Creation&quot; is a relational construct : Public : Accountability defines a nonprofits' relationship to the public at large Value : central services of organizations evaluated with regard to their benefit to the wider public. Creation : </li></ul><ul><li>every evaluation of a product or service is in fact a creation in the sense that there are multiple categories of evaluation imaginable. </li></ul><ul><li>There is not only one accurate description of the value of a certain service: focus on the patterns of evaluation and references organizational members draw upon to negotiate the value created. </li></ul>accountability is a relational concept structured by discourses of public value creation, concerning the organizations’ core products or services.
  6. 6. Discourse Analysis <ul><li>method to examine linguistic elements in the construction of social phenomena </li></ul><ul><li>allowed us to approach the relational and negotiated dimension of accountability in non-profit organizations </li></ul><ul><li>conceptualizing discourse as a duality of communicative actions and deep structures, mediated by the modality of interpretative schemes </li></ul>Communicative action Deep structures interpretative schemes
  7. 7. Research Question / method / data Single case study: Swiss Import Promotion Programme (extrem-case in development cooperation; from 2004 until today seven evaluations of its impact) Research activity Amount 1 Observation of strategy meeting with funders 1 2 <ul><li>Pre-Focus Groups </li></ul><ul><li>introducing organizations' employees to the research </li></ul><ul><li>clarifying first contextual questions </li></ul><ul><li>data collection (texts produced during the workshops) </li></ul><ul><li>identifying interview partners </li></ul>2 3 <ul><li>Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>narrative, in-depth interview style </li></ul><ul><li>two levels of analysis: top management team (4), project leaders/middle management (12) </li></ul>16 4 <ul><li>Collection of documents </li></ul><ul><li>annual reports and documents preparing the reports from 1998-2008 </li></ul><ul><li>evaluation reports </li></ul>20 7 5 <ul><li>Post-Focus Groups </li></ul><ul><li>mirroring interview analysis </li></ul><ul><li>data collection (texts produced during the workshops) </li></ul>3
  8. 8. Data analysis <ul><li>interviews fully transcribed </li></ul><ul><li>participant observations documented by intense field notes </li></ul><ul><li>analysis of data: invivo (grounded-theory) coding process: formulated paraphrases (invivo-codes) of identified passages </li></ul><ul><li>total number of 745 invivo-codes </li></ul><ul><li>find more abstract categories to group the initial invivo-codes </li></ul><ul><li>separately categorizing the codes for the group of middle-managers and top management  aggregated to a higher level, analysis of the two hierarchical levels merged </li></ul>
  9. 9. The case: Swissdevelope <ul><li>Swissdevelope‘s mission </li></ul><ul><li>help small and medium sized enterprises (SME) from developing countries to gain access to Swiss and European Market </li></ul><ul><li>strengthen local economies home to such SMEs </li></ul><ul><li>objective of improving the competitiveness of production processes in these countries </li></ul><ul><li>mission is to reduce poverty in the target countries </li></ul>
  10. 10. Empirical findings (I/II) aesthetical economic social ethical success-story Patterns of Public Value Creation over the development phases of Swissdevelope Personal experiences of project leaders addressees: SME in dev. countries / Swiss Importers principal: SECO/ integration in OSEC Context of dev. aid I II III IV Phases (t) PL SME satisfaction Swissd. SECO KPIs PL SME Financial indicators sustainability PL TMT Value Chain
  11. 11. Types of resources and evaluation Development Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 resocurces discourses Personal motivation Partnering resources Financial resources Public support Aesthetical discourse “… project leaders have a strong wish to help and be directly with the people…” “… visit a local firm…this is fun!” “… have a positive feeling…” &quot;…Since we had success-stories…, more SME were interested…&quot; “… (they) do not really understand what we do, we need to live up to the numbers that they set and it’s okay” “… a kind of family emerged. I am already proud. They help each other…” Economic discourse “ Success is depending on a good relationship with your partners” “… after a while it results in increased export sales…” ” Did we create 200 new jobs…we need not show more.” “ Development aid only makes sense if it supports the local economy in the developing country…” Social discourse “… concrete rules as to when to measure and which procedures to follow…” “ We need to establish structures that help the people to help themselves.&quot; Ethical discourse “ We need to be able to prove, if we can reduce poverty with our projects.”
  12. 12. <ul><li>In our case negotiating accountability involves a focus on resources nonprofits seek to secure. Depending on what resource is central at the time, the discourse concerns a different accountability scheme in respect to different stakeholders. </li></ul><ul><li>In the scope of communicative action involved in negotiating accountability, our case shows that accountability discourses are based on four types of deep structures: aesthetical, economic, social and ethical schemes . They are not only focused on hard facts but also on soft issues, which are better related to nonprofit’s mission (Young, 2002). </li></ul><ul><li>Growing over time, Swissdevelope’s accountability discourses became more multifaceted as more resources were needed. </li></ul>Empirical findings: conclusions (II/II)
  13. 13. <ul><li>Empirically confirm the public as a legitimization reference body (Brown & Moore, 2001; Ebrahim, 2003; Moore, 2000, 2003). Instead of initially defining stakeholders (Green & Griesinger, 1996; Hoefer, 2000), we give the example of a nonprofit focusing on their need to secure resources while internally negotiating their criteria for accountability. </li></ul><ul><li>Contribute to the literature-stream “accounting for learning” (Ebrahim, 2005; Fry, 1995). By focusing not on stakeholder relations but on resources needed to accomplish the mission accountability discourses can take on this challenge. </li></ul><ul><li>Follow Young (2002): risk that accountability efforts focusing on providing hard facts may compromise the organizations’ mission. Ethical evaluation that has a normative component and captures mission-based goals is needed. A strategic way to handle normative issues and a relational concept of accountability are required (Moore, 2000). </li></ul><ul><li>Focusing on the internal negotiations we contribute to the lateral perspective of accountability. Central challenge lies in creating accountability processes which rely on the four underlying deep structures of accountability dimensions: aesthetical, economic, social and ethical discourse. </li></ul>Contribution to literature
  14. 14. Limitations of the study <ul><li>As we only conducted a single case study the findings may not be applicable for other nonprofits. </li></ul><ul><li>We did not observe the accountability discourses as talk in interaction but, following Hardy (2001:35), reconstructed them through retrospective interviews. </li></ul><ul><li>We only focused on the internal view on accountability and did not include further stakeholders other than the external donor. </li></ul>