Collaborative approach to public service improvement: The Malaysian experience and lessons

Noore Siddiquee, John Xavier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: In 2009, Malaysia saw a unique approach to public service improvement. The National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) was designed to enhance governmental performance by breaking down silos across ministries so that resources could be pooled and a leap in value of service is secured. This paper aims to examine the extent to which the NBOS has catalysed inter-agency collaboration and delivered improvements to public services. Design/methodology/approach: The study adopts a qualitative approach drawing on data collected through semi-structured individual interviews with key informants complemented with information from other sources. The interview evidence has been triangulated with those obtained through group discussions, personal observations and review of official records and publications. Findings: The paper shows that despite some teething problems, the NBOS has performed commendably. It has made notable inroads in promoting cross-agency collaboration, demonstrating evidence of improved service delivery and cost savings for the government. In short, it has produced results in areas where previous reforms have performed poorly. Originality/value: The paper adds to the limited literature on collaborative management in developing countries. The Malaysian experience suggests that leadership and commitment at the highest level, an effective governance structure, participation of key actors at various stages and a blend of top-down and bottom-up approaches to project development and management are among the critical success factors for a collaborative approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-32
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Public Sector Management
Issue number1
Early online date19 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2021


  • Blue ocean strategy
  • Collaboration
  • Malaysia
  • Urban transformation centre
  • Value innovation


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