Steenhuisen, B., Dicke, W., De Bruijn, H. 2008. 'Soft' public values in jeopardy. Paper presented at the Annual conference of The Netherlands Institute for Government, Enschede, November.
The value chain in the provision of utility services has been unbundled to allow for liberalization. Reforms created a highly fragmented institutional landscape introducing new actors, a more heterogeneous actor constellation and extra policy levels. This resulting fragmentation holds risks. The safeguard for one value potentially harms other values. We show the risks that concern the more ambiguous, less operationalized, ‘soft’ public values. To achieve the more ambiguous values under the fragmented conditions, we suggest a remedy that allows for ambiguity and fits the current fragmentation.