Eva Thomann, Eva Lieberherr, Karin Ingold
Torn between state and market: Private policy implementation and conflicting institutional logics

Policy & Society, 2016: 35, issue 1, pp. 57-69
ISSN: 1449-4035

Policy implementation by private actors constitutes a “missing link” for understanding the implications of private governance. This paper proposes and assesses an institutional logics framework that combines a top-down, policy design approach with a bottom-up, implementation perspective on discretion. We argue that the conflicting institutional logics of the state and the market, in combination with differing degrees of goal ambiguity, accountability and hybridity play a crucial role for output performance. These arguments are analysed based on a secondary analysis of seven case studies of private and hybrid policy implementation in diverging contexts. We find that aligning private output performance with public interests is at least partly a question of policy design congruence: private implementing actors tend to perform deficiently when the conflicting logics of the state and the market combine with weak accountability mechanisms.