Facing NPG implementation problems in municipal organizations: The wickedness of combined value systems

Lizet Kuitert*, Leentje Volker, Jolien Grandia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Implementing new value systems in municipal organizations to add societal value is extremely challenging. Value tensions emerge inside public organizations when the traditional (TPA) and market (NPM) value systems are confronted with new collaborative value systems (NPG). A multi-level case study, based on interviews, observations and documents, was conducted in two large Dutch municipalities to analyze implementation challenges that civil servants encounter due to the implementation of NPG. By integrating a governance mechanisms-based approach with a value tension approach, the paper contributes to the understanding of internal hybridity in municipal organizations, and the wickedness of organizing public administration when implementing NPG, by identifying both vertical - formalization, flexibilization, and misalignment in top-down and bottom-up governance - and horizontal - different organizational pillars, professions, and value interpretations - implementation challenges. The paper concludes that in the paradoxical situation of complex policy arenas, values elements of TPA and NPG governance models associated with “doing it right” remained dominant in the trade-offs with new values of NPG modes associated with “doing the right thing”. Value conflicts hinder civil servants in ‘doing the right thing right’.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalPublic Policy and Administration
Early online date19 Jul 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 19 Jul 2023


  • collaborative governance
  • Hybridity
  • new public governance
  • new public management
  • traditional public administration
  • value systems
  • value tensions


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