Operationalizing public value in higher education: The use of narratives as an alternative for performance indicators

Luc Salemans*, G Budding

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

More than 25 years after Moore’s first introduction of the public value concept in 1995, the concept is now widely used, but its operationalization is still considered difficult. This paper presents the empirical results of a study analyzing the application of the public value concept in Higher Education Institutions, thereby focusing on how to account for public value. The paper shows how Dutch universities of applied sciences operationalize the concept ‘public value’, and how they report on the outcome achievements. The official strategy plans and annual reports for FY2016 through FY2018 of the ten largest institutions were used. While we find that all the institutions selected aim to deliver public value, they still use performance indicators that have a more narrow orientation, and are primarily focused on processes, outputs, and service delivery quality. However, we also observe that they use narratives to show the public value they created. In this way this paper contributes to the literature on public value accounting.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Management & Governance
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

Keywords

  • Narratives
  • Universities
  • Performance indicators
  • Reporting
  • Annual report

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