Towards a public service management: past, present, and future directions

Purpose – In providing a fine grained analysis of public service management the review makes an important contribution to furthering research in service management, a body of literature that has tended to regard public services as homogenous or to neglect the context altogether. Design/methodology/approach – Integrating public management and service management literatures, the past and present of public service management are discussed. Future directions for the field are outlined drawing on a service-dominant approach that has the potential to transform public services. Invited commentaries augment the review. Findings – The review presents the Public Service Network Framework (PSNF) to capture the public value network in its abstraction and conceptualizes how value is created in public services. The study identifies current shortcomings in the field and offers a series of directions for future research where service management theory can contribute greatly. Research limitations/implications – The review encourages service management research to examine the dynamic, diverse and complex nature of public services and to recognize the importance of this context. The review calls for an interdisciplinary public service management community to develop, and to assist public managers in leveraging service logic. Originality/value – The review positions service research in the public sector, makes explicit the role of complex networks in value creation, argues for wider engagement with public service management, and offers future research directions to advance public service management research.