Tactical Service Failure: A Case Study on Public Funding as a Marketing Issue

J. Tuomas Harviainen*, Maria Ekström, Jukka Ojasalo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyzes the ways in which public-sector service providers may use service-delivery failure as a way of securing resources. In tactical service failure, an organization tactically delivers nonadequate service, so as to project a media image of being harmed by its funding cuts. Analyzing this process enables new insight into both public funding and provider-to-funder (P2F) marketing and selling. This research uses a single case study method to confirm the existence of the phenomenon first detected through long-term media analysis. To explore the single case, the authors interviewed a former city official who participated in tactical-service-failure processes and their marketing. The article shows how and why service providers may opt for this tactic and the potential gains and pitfalls of utilizing it. New insight is offered into how media connections are used to influence public-funding decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 02.04.2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Funding
  • monopsony selling
  • provider-to-funder selling
  • public services
  • service failure
  • service quality


Dive into the research topics of 'Tactical Service Failure: A Case Study on Public Funding as a Marketing Issue'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this