Steenhuisen, B.: Assessing public values at the 'private' side of the divide. How an electricity company does it. Paper at the annual conference of the Netherlands Institute for Government, 8 November 2007. At: Tilburg, The Netherlands
Multiple governmental bodies oversee the public-private divide after the reform in infrastructure industries. We empirically studied how a network electricity company at the ‘private’ side assessed safety as a public value in response to one safety incident. The incident caused major safety investments with significant trade-offs for other values. We encountered two incompatible modes to assess public values inside the company. Strategic decisions explicitly optimize the trade-offs from a comprehensive logic, but on the operational level the value concerned and the tradeoffs appear rather volatile. Remarkably, the involvement of the ‘public’ side was nil in the assessment of these trade-offs. Finally, we discuss the nature of public values in the light of the public-private divide from our empirical stance.