Innovation and inter-organizational learning in the context of public service reform

Hartley, Jean and Rashman, Lyndsay (2018). Innovation and inter-organizational learning in the context of public service reform. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 84(2) pp. 231–248.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0020852318762309

Abstract

This paper examines links between innovation and inter-organizational learning, in the context of public service reform. The theory-building and empirical research draws on longitudinal analysis, using mixed methods and multiple-stakeholder respondents, set in the context of the Beacon Scheme, an instrument of UK public service reform. The research examines two questions: first, how does inter-organizational learning contribute to innovation? Secondly, how do changes in the approach to inter-organizational learning shape changes in the approach to innovation over time? The research on the whole of English local government (N=388) used temporal bracketing to examine development in three phases over nine years. The paper builds theory about inter-organizational learning underpinning innovation, and shows that over time the approach to innovation changed, shifting from learning to imitate to learning to innovate.

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