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Innovative Public Service Delivery: How to assess the new relationship between public agencies and society?




One of the major challenges faced by the Public Administration is how to create more value for both citizens and firms, mainly because of the increasing budgetary constraints and challenging demands from society. In fact, over the past two decades there has been a general movement of public reform in most developed countries, and for this reason it is essential to understand how users assess public services’ quality. This paper aims at understanding the determinants of public services’ quality. Due to the nature of the research problem, we have adopted a case-study methodology. The research involved an extensive qualitative and quantitative data collection with managers, citizens and front and back-office public servants, by means of interviews, questionnaires and focus groups. The paper presents the case of Citizen Shops in Portugal, a recent and innovative channel of public services’ delivery, within a strong relationship perspective. Firstly, it explores the kind of relationships that are developed during the public service encounter between the citizen, the public organization and society. Secondly, both citizen’s satisfaction and dissatisfaction with public services are investigated. The basic premise is that these two concepts are not opposite but have different determinants instead. Furthermore, the paper also explores the existence of a zone of tolerance and emphasizes the importance of managing emotions in the public service encounter. Finally, it is discussed that public services’ quality assessment should also take into consideration the implications on the value to society.

Suggested Citation

  • Carvalho, Cláudia & Brito, Carlos, 2009. "Innovative Public Service Delivery: How to assess the new relationship between public agencies and society?," Working Papers 8/2009, Universidade Portucalense, Centro de Investigação em Gestão e Economia (CIGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:cigewp:2009_008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brady, Michael K. & Cronin, J. Jr. & Brand, Richard R., 2002. "Performance-only measurement of service quality: a replication and extension," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 17-31, January.
    2. Gregg G. Van Ryzin, 2004. "Expectations, performance, and citizen satisfaction with urban services," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 433-448.
    3. Mels Gerhard & BOSHOFF CHRIST0 & NEL DEON, 1997. "The Dimensions of Service Quality: The Original European Perspective Revisited," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 173-189, January.
    4. Preston, Lee E. & Sapienza, Harry J., 1990. "Stakeholder management and corporate performance," Journal of Behavioral Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 361-375.
    5. Christopher Pollitt, 2003. "Joined-up Government: a Survey," Political Studies Review, Political Studies Association, vol. 1(1), pages 34-49.
    6. Oliver, Richard L, 1993. " Cognitive, Affective, and Attribute BAses of the Satisfaction Response," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 418-430, December.
    7. Doyle, Peter, 1994. "Setting business objectives and measuring performance," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 123-132, June.
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    More about this item


    Public services; citizen shops; quality determinants; satisfaction; dissatisfaction;

    JEL classification:

    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing

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