Hybridity as a result of the marketization of public services: Catalyst or obstruction for sustainable development? Deductions from a study of three hybrid waste management organizations in The Netherlands

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Abstract

Increasingly, hybridity, i.e., the combination of contrasting and conflicting elements within organizations, is seen as a way to create innovation and synergy in dealing with complex societal questions, leading to more sustainable development. Much research on the subject deals with the phenomenon of social enterprise, but hybridity also takes place in other, more traditional organizational settings. For example, many governments have created hybrid organizations by em-bracing new public management (NPM) as a way to overcome the perceived shortcomings of tradi-tional, hierarchical forms of public administration, such as inefficiency and the lack of an entrepre-neurial spirit. Here, hybridity is often not so much seen as a way to increase sustainability but rather as a way to cut cost and to increase the quality‐of‐service provision. This article adds the sustaina-bility dimension to this discussion through a deductive approach, reinterpreting the results from a study on the effects of the hybridity of three municipal waste management organizations in the Netherlands. The main conclusions are that hybridity leads to a more professional management style but also to more attention on output than on outcome. The article discusses what this means in terms of pursuing sustainability and sustainable development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number252
JournalSustainability
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

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