Different strokes for different folks? The translation of public values into official meanings
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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It is well known that the meanings of public values can vary significantly across different settings, given their abstract nature. Despite this knowledge, however, the public values literature has not significantly examined the official meanings of public values in their local setting. Against this backdrop, on the basis of a translation perspective we examine the context-specific meanings of 219 public values as defined by the core values state- ments of 61 Nordic central government agencies. We show variation and patterns in the meanings, emphasizing how the meanings vary depending on whether the values are translated into (1) a work and service delivery theme, (2) an internal relations theme and (3) an external relations theme. Through these findings, the study highlights the importance of taking into consideration the official meanings of agency core values for understanding the relationship between public values and administrative behaviour.