Steenhuisen, B. and M. van Eeten (2007): Organizational coping with multiple public values. Case: the Dutch Railways. IRSPM XI, 2-4 April 2007. At: Potsdam, Germany.
Recent reforms in infrastructure sectors led to increased public oversight. Little is known about how an operational organization simultaneously copes with multiple, potentially conflicting, public values. This paper empirically explores these ‘Multiple Principals Problems’ inside the Dutch Railways (NS), currently the main train operator for passenger transport in the Netherlands. A typology of Thacher, Rein (2004) and Stewart (2006) for coping with value conflicts is applied to organizational behavior of
NS. Afterwards, we reflect on an underlying logic for the various ways of organizational coping. Finally, conclusions show the wide gap between the practices of occurring trade-offs and the manageability of multiple preferences as assumed in the current system of oversight.