Tough times, difficult choices and public entrepreneurship: Is sponsorship a winning solution?

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2016, 6 pp. 37 - 59
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© 2016 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose - Public entrepreneurship is increasingly being propounded as a key means of ‘doing more with less’ during the tough times associated with successive rounds of neoliberal restructuring and austerity. The primary aim of this chapter is to provide a critical-exploratory review of sponsorship - a disruptive interjection or particular form of public entrepreneurship. Methodology/approach - Public entrepreneurship provides a useful theoretical frame for exploring some emergent ways of delivering public services in a post-Credit Crunch global operating environment. Empirical insights are derived from a single local authority in the United Kingdom. Findings - There is a widespread concern that straitened economic conditions can engender the prevalence of short-term financial considerations at the expense of other objectives. Sponsorship, as a discrete form of public entrepreneurship in some circumstances has the potential to achieve multiple objectives, enriching public value. However, this is contingent of specific contextual factors. Practical implications - By identifying some risks associated with disruptive interjections intended to open new paths for the sponsorship of public services as well as indicating some opportunities for risk reduction, it is hoped that our analysis may benefit public authorities when they are exploring or evaluating sponsorship ‘opportunities’. Originality/value - Examining sponsorship through a public entrepreneurship conceptual frame has received limited research attention. Whether sponsorship is a ‘winning solution’ is contingent on the particular form of sponsorship as well as the specific time and place.
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