Public Management Review vol:8 issue:2 pages:183-205
Competing values complicate debates on the reform of public services. Attention for competition and efficiency is balanced by concerns for equity and universality in service delivery. These potential value conflicts are best visible in the reform of services of general interest. Despite debates at the European and the national level, current research on services of general interest has been limited to scholars in law and economics. Citizens' opinion on the guiding principles of service delivery is generally disregarded. In this article, we analyse a number of Eurobarometer surveys dealing with services of general interest, as well as a general survey of citizens' perceptions of the public sector in Belgium. We delineate clusters of citizens' public service delivery value orientations, and show that one-sided or ideology-based reform strategies probably negate many of the continuing dilemmas in public service delivery.