Public Sector Innovation - An Empirical Study on Managers in the Norwegian Public Sector
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Innovation in the public sector is crucial in order to maintain the high levels of welfare services the public sector provides, and for the public sector to be able to address the economic and societal challenges it face. This master thesis studies the topic of public sector innovation from a managerial perspective. The thesis is paper-based, thus the main academic contribution can be found in the appended papers. The opening document includes an introduction to the research field of public sector innovation. The two appended papers are based on an empirical study of managers in Norwegian public sector organizations. Paper one investigates how managers understand and view central concepts of innovation, as well as the managerial role and responsibility related to innovation. Although the study suggest that the managers understand innovation on a conceptual level, the managers lack of precision in the understanding of innovation call for the establishment of a common definition of the concept for the public sector. The analysis shows that managers struggled with issues such as; novelty, degree of change necessary, and the implementation phase, when discussing what constitutes innovation. The understanding of the managerial role, and responsibilities regarding innovation, is further found to differ between public sector organizations. Paper two investigates the influence the environmental context may have on public organizations innovative abilities. The Organizations ability to innovate is found closely connected to the ability to adapt to an altered environment. Thus, the findings indicate that the environmental context of the organization does influence and affect the organization s innovative abilities. Managers in organizations at agency level are further found to show more permeable to the organizations environmental context, compared to managers at ministerial level. This could be explained by more frequent interaction and involvement with external actors for the organizations at agency level.