Public citizen engagement in the process of value

Public
participation is necessary in order to create value in public services beyond
the level of satisfaction by creating pleasant experience and incorporating
high quality in service according to the public expectations (Neghina et al., 2015; Osborne, S. P. 2018). Thus it is crucial to manage
the interaction between the service provider and service user (Galvagno & Dalli, 2014; Sarpong, 2016). 
A thorough understanding of the public needs is essential because true
Public representation contributes in effective public spending (Mamoon, 2017) helping government in its goal
achievement and to solve societal problems. It has the potential to create
efficiency and effectiveness in public programs (Klijn, 2008). High quality public participation
helps in transforming public beliefs about government responsiveness and
performance. Governments can use public involvement  as an intervention to minimize public
resistance to government  proposals (Halvorsen, 2003)

 

Research Problem:

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The public
sector has major differences contrary to private sector e.g., public sector
does not seek profit. It mostly provides services which cannot be provided on
individual basis (Osborne, Radnor, Kinder, & Vidal, 2015). Services can
easily be distinguished from manufactured products in many aspects like the
production consumption cycle etc. But likewise private sector value creation in
the services is important concern in public sector i.e., it should not be dependent
on sole criteria of quality in creating service value. Attention should be
diverted form just only providing the “missing product” to citizen engagement
in the process of value creation. Literature has emphasizedon management of the
interaction between service user and service provider (Osborne, Radnor, &
Nasi, 2013). An intervention is needed which can influence this relationship.

Research questions

How
public participation can contribute in creating value of public services?

 

How
service user perceive public service value?

 

How
non users perceive public service value?

 

What
is the difference between the service value perceptions of service users and non-users?

 

 

Literature review

New public Governance is dramatic shift overcoming
the flaws of previous public management models and emphasizes service delivery (Osborne, S. P. 2006). Previous
models of public management were flawed in a sense that they treat public service
delivery as linear and literature was culled from manufacturing which was not
“fit for purpose” ignoring the very essence of public services and complexities
of pluralist world. “Service dominant theory” addressed the concerns related to
distinct nature of services from products. The process of getting satisfaction
out of latter has colossal difference from the former. Thus the process of
service delivery is as much important as the product itself Although there are
no hard and fast rule to accomplish service promise but literature has
sought  some key elements  in limelight usually service user (Osborne,
Radnor, & Nasi, 2013). “It is
essential for PSOs to move beyond the transactional approach and take a
relational public service dominant approach (Osborne, Radnor, Kinder, &
Vidal, 2015). Private sector service firms have different logic than public
sector.Due to this shift from “public service dominant logic (PSDL) to service
dominant logic (SDL)”, citizens are not considered merely co-producer of the
services they are also co-creator of service value and eventually shifted the
focus of PSOs from performance to the value as the key metric. Public service
organizations can only make service offerings, service value is created at the
nexus of this service offering and use(S. P. Osborne, 2018).To empirically
test the co-creation of value it can be operationalized in more observable and manageable
concept of  actor engagement i.e.,
considered as  ‘micro foundation’ of
Value co-creation (Storbacka, K. et al., 2016).

Since 2000s there is a surge in the service management
literature concerned with the concept of co-creation of value. It is crucial to
strategically manage the interaction between service provider and service user
in order to create service value (Galvagno & Dalli, 2014). The
significance of this Interaction  is
highlighted  in the literature as Norman’s
“moment of truth” (Sarpong, 2016). the attributes
of service concept are elaborated in the literature “in terms of value, form
and function, experiences and outcomes” (Clark, Johnston, & Shulver, 2000). Hence the
concept can be used in design and development of services by keeping in mind
the above stated attributes. By assessing value expectations of service user an
organization will eventually be able to create pleasant experience of the
service and ultimately a satisfied user. Thus besides service, quality
environment plays a crucial role in creating value for the user (Vandermerwe, 2004). Effective
process of public participation can transform the beliefs of the citizens about
the responsiveness and performance of public agency “Satisfying, accessible and
deliberative high quality public participation” can pave the way of public
proposals by minimizing the public resistance. Access is the most important
element tied up with representation soothes the public tensions about fairness (Halvorsen, 2003). Public
participation in the form of comments or feedback is not sufficient. Public
need some extra incentive to participate in the process e.g., they seek actual
consideration of their feedback by the decision makers only then they perceive
the process fair. Fairness in the process is a pre requisite to success and,
“it is related to four criteria: receptivity to citizen input, the influence of
the participant over the decision, the quality of agency’ knowledge or
reasoning, and the degree to which relationships are improved” (Lauber, 1999). The achievement of the above stated
outcomes of the responsive governance is stifled through the inequalities of
income, the elite class protecting their own interests by making lobbies and
securing political support through the legislations representation the
protected class interest and thus worsening the conditions of excluded class.
Thus the true representation of the needs of the public in an open and
transparent manner is crucial in resource allocations (Mamoon, 2017)

Dictatorships and democracies both have different
patterns of redistribution. Dictatorships do so by mostly taxes and transfers
and democracies deliver in the form of public services (Kammas & Sarantides, 2016). Detailed account
of the government expenditure showed that expenditure in health and education
is increased under democratization. Although these are not only needs to be
fulfilled. A thorough understanding of the public needs is of paramount
importance (Kotera & Okada, 2017) e.g., A study
based in Nigeria asserted that Poverty alleviation programs of the government
will not reach the target population unless a 
more close community based structure is designed (Okon & Monday, 2017). Citizen
engagement have practical value in improving public agency performance by
increasing efficiency and effectiveness of public programs (Neshkova & Guo, 2012).

The above literature instigated exploring the need
of strategic need assessment in the public policy process. The results of
Strategic Human resource management in the business organizations provides
support to this assertion. As Schuler’s 5Ps model (philosophy, policies,
programs, practices, processes) makes it evident that before anything else
strategic need assessment is the key step. Because it makes all the later steps
clear and unidirectional and makes the organization to cope with the dynamic
environments (Schuler, 1992). The steps taken
during scanning and need assessment in the 5Ps model is highly applicable to
the representative governments which are unable to respond effectively in the
face of socio-economic and cultural changes. Thesocietal actors are pivotal for
government  in achieving its goals
through collaborative actions to solve societal policy problems (Klijn,2008), but the
“fragmented social contexts” pose problem of bounded rationality (Fung & Wright, 2003).

Although theoretical studies have emphasized the strategic
importance of the citizenengagement in creating value in public service, but no
empirical study exists which can prove this relationship. This study will
provide an insight of the actual importance of citizen engagement by assessing
the discrepancies between the needs or expectations of the citizen and the government
intentions and service delivery. This study is significant in context of
Pakistan because the vision 2025 of Pakistan has acknowledged the potential of
citizen involvement considering them as “vision champion” to achieve its long
term objectives (Pakistan)

Although the importance of citizen involvement in
value creation of services has already established in theoretical works but the
difference between the values perceived by the service user (customer) and
potential user (citizen) has never been investigated. The relationship between
the public participation and co-creation of value will empirically be tested
through the gap between public expectations and experiences associated with the
public services. Public service provider can create value if they develop some
intervention influencing the interaction between service provider and service
user hence the gap analysis should be the first step in this regard.

Significance of the study

The purpose of the study is to give
suggestions to government about the problems faced by the citizens due to metro
bus project and the issues that hinders creating value in this service. So that
future projects e.g., orange line metro train project could benefit from such
evaluations by avoiding hindrances hence creating value in the service and
consequently delivering comfort to citizens. Thisresearch intends to unveil the
problems faced by the citizen of Lahore due to metro bus project.it will reveal
differences between the value perceptions of service user and non-user. In order
to create value the public participation is inevitable because they can help in
identifying the issues they faced and the desirable features of the service
that they want to be incorporated in the future projects. In the course of
resource scarcity especially in the developing countries like Pakistan every
penny of the public spending have to be justified in the form of prioritizing
the very needs of the public. If any government project is not delivering any
worth then further such projects should be discontinued or greater deliberation
is required by keeping in to account the problems posed by the past project to
avoid them in the future and consequently to create value in the service
instead of just providing a missing product. Being a democratic country
Pakistan should give to the public their due rights of participation in
decision making. If everything is transparent to public rather than words in
the air, people will believe in the scarcity of resources and will be calm even
if some portion of their needs is underspent. But if the situation is reversing.
Foreign aid is continuously received, taxes are increased, currency is devalued
but the reasons of getting these loans, increased taxes, and currency
devaluation is not made evident, then it can play havoc to the country’s
economic effectiveness and also the Gross domestic happiness.

Research strategy

Quantitative: Dimensions of the
public participation and value creation are available in the literature. So
quantitative research strategy is used to elaborate the relationship of
variables.

Research type

 Explanatory: This research is dealing with” how” research questions explaining
contribution of public participation in creating value in public service. And
How service user and non-user perceive this value differently(Silverman, 2016).

Research design

Case study design:  Case study is relevant with the explanatory research answering how and
why research questions.Case study design is appropriate for this study because
it explains how citizen contribute in public service value and provide
information about  difference in value
perception of the citizens of Lahore specifically associated with metro bus
service project of Government (Bryman, 2015). This research intends to provide data about the pros and cons of
this specific project in the lenses of public eye whether they are service user
or not but are residents of Lahore and are affected by the project in some way
i.e., through assessing public value of the project. The case study of metro
bus service is an excellent setting to evaluate public transit service that
will enable researcher to give suggestions to the government about how public
participation can create value in metro bus service and also propose
precautions to ongoing orange line metro train project which consists of huge
spending of Rs.165 billion of which a major portion of Rs.150 billion is loan
based from China(Gabol, 2017).

Research paradigms

Epistemological consideration

 

Positivism:
The public opinions will be objectively assessed in this research without any
personal interpretations. So this approach towards knowledge is used (Bryman, 2015).

Ontological Consideration:

 

Objectivism:
Due to the above reason of objectivity the reality is considered external to
social actors. Hence considering objectivism as ontology(Bryman, 2015).

 

Conceptual model

Value creation in public services

 

 

Public participation                          

 

===============================è

 

Independent
variable                                                                         
Dependent variable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operationalization of variables

Public participation (independent)

The importance of public participation in creating
service value is deeply rooted in literature. Democratic systems have special
needs of these participation because in this system of government, people get
their share of public money in the form of services.(Kammas & Sarantides, 2016). Citizens are the main stakeholders
of public services hence acting as key to co-creation of value in services(Osborne, S. P. 2018). It is important to assess the
expectations of the citizen in order to create value in the service by
providing high quality and  creating
pleasant experience (Osborne, S. P. et al., 2015). Although Citizen Feedback is
important in creating service value but not sufficient. They seek  fairness in the process and need some extra
incentive in the form of actual implementation of their feedback (Lauber, 1999).

Dimensions and
indicators:

The
following dimensions of public participation are derived from literature:

Expectations: hopes

Feedback:evaluation of
service, evaluation of project objectives

Fairness:Awareness,
access, response

Value co-creation in public services (dependent
variable)

The focus of the
study is value creation in public services. literature provides evidence that
value in the services can be created at the moment of interaction between
service provider and user(Galvagno & Dalli, 2014). This moment can be influenced
through public participation by shaping the beliefs of citizens about the
agency performance and responsiveness.
Government can take advantage of less resistance from the public towards its
proposals ultimately creating value in future projects. (Halvorsen, 2003). Value is created not only in the form of satisfaction of quality
service, pleasant experience is another desirable outcome which can be provided
through quality environment(Vandermerwe, 2004).Public participation ensures in some way
that government’s projects are justifying the public money which is being spent(Mamoon, 2017).

Dimensions and indicators

Value
will be measured covering the following dimensions:

Public satisfaction:commitment,
comfort level

Effective public spending: justified cost

Less
resistance:acceptability of metro, desirability of
similar future project

 

 

 

Methodology

Data type, forms and resources

Secondary
sources employed here are in the form of research articles, books, government
web pages and news articles. For the primary data questionnaire will be used.
Data will be collected from the citizens of Lahore who have some sort of
experience with metro bus service independent of being its user or not in order
to reveal:

ü  Public
participation contributes value in public service

ü  the value
perceptions of metro bus service users,

ü  value perception
of non-users towards metro project

ü  differences
between the perceptions of users and non-user

Method of Data collection

Questionnaires
will be used in order to assess the value of the metro bus project by using
cross sectional survey. Data will be collected in one time survey. Student
Respondents will be accessed in cafeteria of their respective department
whereas Teachers, line staff etc. in their respective offices.

Selection,Sampling, Access and Recruitment

Sampling strategy

Non
probability sampling will be used. Snowball sampling will be appropriate
because sampling frame consistingof the metro users is not available. The
reason behind this sampling strategy is the travelers’ sense of urgency while
travelling. At First, they will not respond on metro stations and can feel frustration.
Even if they will respond in such circumstances they will do it in hurry thus
decreasing the response rate. Secondly, without approaching the travelers at
station it is very difficult to trace them. Small group of metro users will be
accessed and through them further contacts will be established.

Population and sample size

The
research setting consists of university of the Punjab, canal campus.Central
location of the university in Lahore provides an opportunity to the researcher
to get a representative sample of metro users because members of this
university comes from diverse areas using different transport facilities The
population consists of students and employees of university of the Punjab Quaid
e Azam campus, who are residents of Lahore and, are deeply familiar with the
metro bus project in Lahore. Taking the sample size of 400, among which 200
will be service user and equal number of non-users.

Confidentiality and ethics:

 Purpose of the research will be clearly
conveyed before administering questionnaire. The respondents will be kept
anonymous. It will give an additional advantage of gaining respondent’s
commitment and will help in eliciting true responses.

Purpose of data collection

Purpose
of the data collection through questionnaire is twofold. The findings will
reveal that what could be done to create value in public service through public
participation. Secondly it will reveal differences between the value perception
of users and non-users towards metro bus service project. Due to the equal number
of sample of user and non-user categories of metro service the results will be
somewhat representative about the value perception of citizens of Lahore.

The reason ofchoosingquestionnaire

Questionnaire
is better option to elicit responses from travelers rather than usingany other
method because of the sense of urgency in working hours. Questionnaire can be
left with the respondents’ feasibility and can be collected later. Meanwhile
they could be given reminders which will more likely increase response rate.

The logic of selecting and approaching participants

The
logic behind selecting student travelerslie in the urgency while travelling.Travelers
on the station rarely allow to give some time in filling questionnaire. Furthermore
they can left the questionnaire incomplete if the bus arrives meanwhile.
Therefore student and employee travelers are selected for this study due to
ease in recruiting them at one location.They might be accessed in their free
time and there is high probability that they will cooperate with the researcher
resulting in honest response. The predefined criteria before selecting a
participant is that he/she must be resident of Lahore.

 

The design and form of questionnaire,
including the type and ordering of questions

Self-developed
questionnaire is used consisting of four sets of questions with a five point Likert
scale (1 being strongly agree to 5 being strongly disagree). First set intends
to assess public expectations before the project was launched.2nd
set is inviting responses on the experiences of the user or non-user citizens
after the project was launched. 3rd set of questions is evaluating
metro service from the lenses of public eye and the last set of questions is
about feedback about overall metro project and desirability for the ongoing
orange line train project. While making sets of questions relevance is
established between the questions but Flip questions are used randomly in
between to detect no response error.

 

The method of Administration

Questionnaires will be self-administered.
Questionnaire can be left with the respondent’s feasibility of time to fill it
and later can be collected thus enhancing the likely response rate

Issues in cleaning, coding or computing data

Non users are mostly those individuals to whom metro
bus service i not accessible or not match with the route and situation is vice
versa for the service user. Neutral responses are difficult to analyze. Pilot
study showed some controversial responses. Although Service users are reporting
seat unavailability in the bus but they are willing to use metro service again
as compared to other public transport alternatives. The same issue is with non-user
category. Regardless of mismatch between their route and metro service they are
supporting such other project of orange line train project. For the data
reduction and analysis SPSS will be used. Correlation and regression analysis
will be employed.

Ethical issues

No ethical
issue arose in the course of pilot study. Respondents were comfortable to give
true opinions when they hear about the significance of this study according to
which problems in such future projects can be eliminated if public gives honest
opinions about metro bus project.

 

Pilot study Report:

Responses from Six respondents were collected representing
equal number of individuals in user and non-user category. Direction for the
first set of question was vague for some respondents

“I was expecting from the metro bus project when it
was in inaugurating phase”

It will be replaced with “when metro project was not
launched yet, these were my expectations ”

Second difficulty in responding faced by respondents
was with the statement gauging impact of metro project on traffic flow, “Metro
project has increased the traffic flow in Lahore”. This statementcan be
specified further by splitting it in more parts e.g.,

Metro bridges infrastructure caused U-turns located
far apart

High probability of traffic jam on U-turns

Far off U-turns obstruct smooth traffic flow.

Meaningful results can be predicted on the basis of
these responses e.g., user category is contented with the service despite of
some difficulties such as seat unavailability due to overcrowding. But they are
loyal to the service and are willing to use the service again. Metro routes
perfectly matches with their residence. They strongly favor similar future
projects. Contrary to this non-users mostly have mismatch between their
residence and metro route. But have mixed opinion about metro project and
desirability of such future or ongoing projects. The evidence of these
responses arehighlighted in the form of pair of questionnaire (user, non-use)
and are attached in the appendix. Another issue was with the fairness in the
process related questions. Neutral responses are difficult to understand and
are mostly from the non-user category.Although data is giving information in
the right direction set by research questions but more comprehensive data about
value perceptions and problems faced during this project can be collected
through supplemented qualitative research method like semi structured
interviews e.g., Why people want to compromise on service quality, or despite
of negative evidence of a government project, why they still advocate similar
project etc.

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