Chapter 4

Public Innovation and Organizational Legitimacy: An Empirical Analysis of Social Media in the Dutch Police

Albert Meijer


This chapter aims to enhance our understanding of the relation between public innovation and organizational legitimacy. On the basis of the literature, we formulate the expectation that top-down innovation results in strengthening of a bureaucratic logic to producing legitimacy whereas bottom-up innovation results in more emphasis on a network logic. To investigate this expectation empirically, the chapter analyses the introduction and use of social media by the Dutch police. The outcomes challenge the expected relation: top-down innovation resulted in a more networked arrangement for legitimacy. We explain this finding by pointing out that the innovation process was infrastructural and empty in content: the content was provided through bottom-up innovation. We conclude that combinations of top-down and bottom-up practices can form a conceptual lens for studying the involvement of different organizational actors in processes of public innovation.

Total Pages: 69-89 (21)

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