Command, Control and Co-Creation: Drivers and Barriers Faced by Professionals Co-Creating in the Slovenian Public Sector

Sanja Vrbek, Marlot Kuiper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The academic contribution to the field is twofold. Firstly, the paper identifies co-creation drivers and barriers from the professionals’ point of view ‒ a largely overlooked perspective in the relevant literature. Secondly, by being placed in the Slovenian administrative context, the paper complements and enriches the debate on co-creation shaped predominantly by the experience of Northern and Western Europe.

Purpose: By focusing on the Slovenian public sector, as a traditionally hierarchical administrative context, the paper aims to identify factors that stimulate professionals to implement co-creation in their everyday work, as well as factors that impede their decision and behaviour in this direction.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper relies on two Slovenian case studies capturing the experience of professionals from the Ministry of Public Administration and the Municipality of Ljubljana. The key data-gathering methods were qualitative open-ended interviews with ‘lead professionals’ (at managerial positions) and focus groups with professionals who have regular contact with service users/external stakeholders and/or experience with co-creation.

Findings: The findings of the paper indicate that professionals implement co-creation even in ‘unfavourable’ hierarchical and centralised settings. A key driver for them to co-create in such a context is strong political support at the highest level. However, a more profound internalisation of co-creation depends on the redefinition of their professional identity, as well as on the (personal or collective/organisational) interest in co-creation.

Originality/significance: The paper makes a pioneer step in providing an in-depth look into the drivers and barriers professionals face when implementing co-creation in the Slovenian public sector. As such, it provides valuable input for further comparative analyses of co-creation drivers and barriers faced by professionals across Central and Eastern Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-56
JournalCentral European Public Administration Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2022


  • barriers
  • co-creation
  • drivers
  • professionals
  • Slovenia


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