Mortensen, N. M., & Needham, C. (2022). ‘“I do not want to be one of her favourites”. Emotional display and the co-production of frontline care services’, Public Management Review, 1-22.

Co-production has been introduced into many public services, reshaping traditional roles of frontline staff and service users. This study investigates how co-production processes interact with norms of emotional display set by staff. A continuum of staff-user relationships is developed, highlighting variations between display rules which set norms of emotional closeness versus distance. This continuum is used empirically to explore relationships as frontline care services introduce co-production initiatives. Data from a Danish case illustrate that emotional closeness/distance can influence the effectiveness and sustainability of co-production. This finding contributes to understanding of the factors which underpin enduring co-production in public services.