The paradox of institutional behavioural additionality and behavioural negativity in hybrid organisation

  • Michael Gregson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The research explores how the impact of UK Government policy impacts change in a hybridorganisation created out of a public-sector organisation, it shows how this type of policy change ischaracterise by the paradox of Behavioural Additionality and Behavioural Negativity that relates tothe context specific success or failure of commercialisation. The research initially explores theconcept of Behavioural Additionality through organisational routines, and utilises Neo-InstitutionalTheory to understand and explain the impact. This key finding informs New Public Managementliterature as this new hybrid organisation seeks to establish a commercial focus with a public sectorethos. The context of the research is characterised by UK austerity policy change and a reduction inpublic sector funding. A key contribution introduces the concept of Behavioural Negativity to thisdebate. In terms of a practical contribution the thesis justifies why UK austerity policy needs toconsider the impact of both Behavioural Additionality and Behavioural Negativity on theimplementation of public sector hybrid organisations.To establish the importance of the historical context the literature review considers debates fromthe areas of New Public Management and New Public Governance. Hybrid organisations are createdto address public needs and to produce services that are public in character, at the same timeresembling private corporations in the way they are organised and managed as a commercialbusiness. The research is a case study. focused on understanding how a hybrid organization is set upand governed through a large public-sector organisation. The key principle of operating as acompetitive commercial organisation runs in parallel with delivering the established public-sectorwork. A qualitative methodological approach was selected to gain insight and depth of a hybridorganisation which includes ethnographic work for a period of 15 months. The study adapts thecoding framework of a modified Grounded Theory approach to analyse the data and develop resultsthat explain the changes within the hybrid organisation. This includes the creation of a new concept,Behavioural Negativity, which informs the paradox of Behavioural Additionality.Implications for theory and practice are discussed in relation to the theoretical contributions of theresearch include the following;
− Behavioural Negativity and Behavioural Additionality are shown as a paradox in a contextspecific model, and a model that has been designed to be generalised
− Management of the conflict between commerciality and public value is mediated throughthe concepts of governance, risk and relationships.
− Behaviour Negativity is institutionalised through legacy, legislation, culture, resources ofpower, control, risk and change in relationships between the hybrid organisation and theparent organisation.
− Changing social structures within hybrid organisations are characterised by the governanceof positive and negative behaviours, changes in power, governance, culture andrelationships.
− Public sector policy, austerity and ethos creates constraints and opportunities thatinfluenced the hybrid organisation to become more commercial.
There is a shortfall of research regarding hybrid organisations in terms of how they are formed froma public sector organisation and established as a hybrid model of private-public sector organisation.This research contributes towards an understanding of this gap
Date of Award17 Jul 2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJudith W Scully (Supervisor) & John D Blewitt (Supervisor)


  • behavioural additionality,
  • behavioural negativity,
  • organisational routines,
  • hybrid
  • new public management,
  • new public governance,
  • institutional theory

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