Managing Value Conflicts in Public Innovation: Ostrich, Chameleon, and Dolphin Strategies

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This paper develops a theoretical understanding of the management of value conflicts in public innovation. Drawing from the literatures on public values and on public innovation, various strategic approaches to managing conflict are discussed, conceptualized, and applied to two cases. The paper identifies three basic approaches for dealing with value conflicts: avoidance (ostrich strategy), coping (chameleon strategy) and learning (dolphin strategy). This model is used to analyze two technological innovation processes in the Netherlands, showing its value for empirical research. The paper concludes that continued high-level deliberation can impede innovation processes while local experimenting may support learning about value conflicts.

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