Innovative and entrepreneurial activity in the public sector: The changing face of public sector institutions


This paper investigates the drivers and facilitators of innovative and entrepreneurial activity in three New Zealand state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Illustrative cases reveal that those aspects typically associated with entrepreneurship, such as innovation, risk acceptance, pro-activeness and growth, are supported by a number of other elements within the public sector context studied. These elements include external drivers related to performance, including operational excellence and cost efficiency. They also comprise internal facilitators such as a more flexible culture, an investment in people, a focus on branding, and the deliberate application and transfer of knowledge.

The implications are twofold. First, that innovation and entrepreneurship in the public sector can go beyond government policy-making, with the SOE model representing an important policy decision and sector of the New Zealand Government. And second, that the impact of several SOEs on international markets suggests competition on the global stage will increasingly come from both public and private sector organisations.


Belinda Luke
School of Accountancy, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane QLD

Martie-Louise Verreynne
University of Queensland Business School, University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD

Kate Kearins
MBA Sustainability Specialisation, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand


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innovation; entrepreneurship; state-owned enterprises; New Zealand


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