Doctoral dissertation

Anniina Tirronen: Outcomes-based commissioning seeks for improving wellbeing

Anniina Tirronen
Wellbeing-seeking has become an important part of commissioning services. The vision of and desire for commissioning outcomes instead of outputs, such as calls or hours, has strengthened. Total success or successfulness, in other words, economy, efficiency, effectiveness and equity, is striven for in commissioning of services in order to meet the challenges of complex and changing operational environments, meagre resources and growing service needs.

Anniina Tirronen investigates in her doctoral dissertation outcomes-based commissioning (OBC) concentrating on welfare services in the public sector, especially in municipalities.

Commissioning of services means that the services can be produced by the public organization itself or in collaboration with other public actors or they can be purchased from outside providers. The study focused on the commissioning of services from outside service providers.

Outcomes- based commissioning gained strength in Finland in the 2010s and it focuses on increasing the wellbeing of the citizens through different quarters of the society. This is a change of paradigm in service commissioning and it has had a notable effect on administration and leadership.

The target of the study was to examine the connections between the simultaneous phenomena, the strengthened governance thinking and outcomes-based commissioning. The concept of public value became a meaningful part of the research and thus both the new public governance (NPG) and public value act as the background theories of the study. The aim of the study was also to examine the interaction between the theory and practice, and therefore, in this research, a model of outcomes-based commissioning was built. Its glue and enabler is co-creative leadership.

The research indicates that as an approach outcomes-based commissioning is holistic (e.g. Leat & Setzler 2002) and it challenges the organization, its culture and leadership, but also its operational environment. It is a question of a holistic commissioning strategy which can answer to the need of knowledge management and through which services are co-created and co-produced.

With outcomes-based commissioning, trust can be increased between the commissioner, producers and the service users and more inventive solutions are enabled compared to output-based commissioning. Measuring, evaluation and partnership are in the center of outcomes-based commissioning.

It is possible consciously to choose the NPG-connected outcomes-based commissioning as a mechanism of renewal instead of output-based commissioning which has its roots in new public management (NPM). Nevertheless, this requires know-how, involvement, resources − and with leadership the appliance of OBC can either be weakened or supported substantially. As a process outcomes-based commissioning is burdensome. Outcomes-based commissioning can also be applied alongside the traditional way of purchasing services. OBC calls for a new kind of commissioning know-how, and into this discussion the research brought new information on applying outcomes-based commissioning, applicability of it and on the different elements of outcomes-based commissioning.

The doctoral dissertation of Anniina Tirronen in the field of administrative sciences titled Hyvinvointia hankkimassa – tulosperusteinen palvelujen järjestäminen julkisella sektorilla will be publicly examined at the Faculty of Management and Business of Tampere University at 12 o'clock on Friday 27 November 2020. The venue is Linna building lecture hall K103, address: Kalevantie 5. Professor (fixed-term), Docent Marjo Suhonen from University of Oulu will be the opponent while Professor Jari Stenvall will act as the custos.

The dissertation is available online at:

The event can be followed via remote connection.

Photo: Anni Kössi