First Advisor

Craig Shinn

Date of Publication

Winter 1-29-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Affairs and Policy


Public Affairs and Policy




Organizational change, Harbors -- Northwest, Pacific -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (xii, 386 pages)


Innovation is vital to employing resources in times when the complexity and the demand for public goods and services strain organizational capacities. While innovation in the private sector is the subject of intense academic interest, the study of this phenomenon in the public sector pales in comparison. This is troubling because innovation is an important tool for overcoming resource limitations that plague the public sector. This dissertation's unique contribution to the field is the creation and empirical validation of a model that explains and predicts the co-production of public sector innovation. The model explains the causal mechanism of innovation and has predictive value.

No generally agreed upon or empirically tested theory exists for understanding or predicting the social interactions that lead to public sector innovation. This dissertation closes this gap by using prior research and empirical observations to build and validate a model that explains the co-production of public sector innovation at the nexus of leadership, the organization, and the customer or client of the organization. The findings, conclusions, and recommendations of this study bridge theory and practice to define the conditions that lead to co-production of public sector innovation.

This dissertation employed a deductive-inductive typological approach that used grounded theory to describe the conditions present when innovation occurs. These conditions exist as antecedents that include adaptive interest alignment, client-based prioritization, co-production readiness, organizational incentives, and organizational structure and culture. This study defined and then measured six independent variables that indicate the antecedents' presence. These antecedents served to predict the opening of a pathway to co-production of public sector innovation.

Empirical measurement of the six independent variables served to indicate the presence or absence of the antecedents that operate in three intersecting domains (leadership, organization, and clients or customers). The independent variables are present when the dependent variable of co-produced public sector innovation emerged. The creation of two unique indices provided an aggregate summary of the variables. The indices served as proxy measures of co-produced public sector innovation. Special districts served as the empirical setting for this research.

A case study approach served to validate the model using indices of the expected and actual measurement of co-production of innovation in the public sector. This dissertation validated the theoretical framework that served as a heuristic tool for conceptualizing the dynamics that moderate the co-production of public sector innovation within a defined political economy. The findings, conclusions, and recommendations that emerged from this research contribute to the ongoing dialogue about the conditions necessary for public sector innovation to occur.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier