Public sector values: Between the real and the ideal

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Abstract

Purpose-The purpose of this research is to identify and analyze the core values of the Peruvian public sector in the particular context of recent public management reforms. Design/methodology/approach-After distinguishing between traditional private and public sector values, the paper compared the presence of each of these types of values in two very different sources of data: input from employees' values survey and formal values statements of Peruvian public sector organizations. The analysis includes both a comparison of the presence of traditional public and private sector values in the two sources of data and the identification of the cultural profile of the public sector of Peru using the tri-axial model. Findings-The findings indicate a large gap between values at the theoretical level and values at the practical level. While values statements of public organizations in Peru clearly reflect traditional public sector values, in practice, public sector employees appear to follow a mixture of public and private sector values. Strengthening this conclusion is the finding that the cultural tri-axial profile of the sector is purely economic-pragmatic, which suggests that ethical and emotional values are positioned lower on the values hierarchy. Originality/value-This paper provides the first evidence of two important cultural phenomena in the Peruvian public sector: a broad adoption of private sector values and a gap between the values that are proposed as ethical guidelines (ideal) and the values that are followed in practice (real). The combination of these two phenomena suggests a potential risk to the ethical functioning of the public administration. This risk is especially significant in a developing country like Peru, where many of its poor citizens depend on government support. The paper discusses both the research and practical implications of this study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-606
Number of pages21
JournalCross Cultural Management
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 Oct 2013

Keywords

  • Developing countries
  • Ethics
  • New public managements
  • Peru
  • Values

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