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

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New Perspectives on Research Policy and Practice in Public Entrepreneurship, Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research, 2016
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Abstract 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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