Governance Networks in the Public Sector: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Governance Networks in the Public Sector

1st Edition

By Erik Hans Klijn, Joop Koppenjan


360 pages | 13 B/W Illus.

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Governance Networks in the Public Sector presents a comprehensive study of governance networks and the management of complexities in network settings. Public, private and non-profit organizations are increasingly faced with complex, wicked problems when making decisions, developing policies or delivering services in the public sector. These activities take place in networks of interdependent actors guided by diverging and sometimes conflicting perceptions and strategies. As a result these networks are dominated by cognitive, strategic and institutional complexities. Dealing with these complexities requires sophisticated forms of coordination: network governance.

This book presents the most recent theoretical and empirical insights into governance networks.  It provides a conceptual framework and analytical tools to study the complexities involved in handling wicked problems in governance networks in the public sector. The book also discusses strategies and management recommendations for governments, business and third sector organisations operating in and governing networks.

Governance Networks in the Public Sector is an essential text for advanced students of public management, public administration, public policy and political science, and for public managers and policymakers.


‘The latest text from Klijn and Koppenjan addresses the enduring topic of networks comprehensively and convincingly. While research on governance networks has made great strides over the past few decades, this outstanding text succeeds in summarizing what is known about networks as well as anticipating what will be important in the future.’Professor Michael McGuire, Indiana University, USA

‘This book is the most comprehensive consideration of governance networks available, systematically spanning its theoretical foundations and providing strategies and practical guidelines for analysing and managing networks. The authors also provide new overviews of governance networks’ democratic legitimacy, accountability mechanisms, and evaluation processes. Academics, students and practitioners will all find this an extremely useful reference.’ - Professor Jenny M Lewis, The University of Melbourne, Australia

‘Twenty years in the making, this book is the definitive manual on how to analyze, manage and assess governance networks.’Professor Rod A. W. Rhodes, University of Southampton, UK

Table of Contents

1. Governance Networks in the Public Sector. An Introduction Part I: Governance Networks 2. An Intellectual History of Networks 3. Substantive Complexity in Governance Networks: Multiple perceptions and contested knowledge 4. Strategic Complexity in Governance Networks: Strategies, games, rounds and arenas 5. Institutional Complexity of Governance Networks: Patterns, rules and trust Part II: Network Management 6. Managing Substantive Complexities in Governance Networks 7. Managing Strategic Complexity in Governance Networks 8. Managing Institutional Complexities in Governance Networks Part III: Normative Issues in Governance Networks 9. Governance Networks and Democracy 10. Governance Networks and Accountability 11. Evaluating Governance Networks Part IV: Synthesis and Reflection 12. Analyzing Governance Networks 13. Wrapping Things up and Looking Ahead: Towards a New Public Governance?

About the Authors

Erik Hans Klijn is Professor of Public Administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. His research focuses on topics like network management, the role of trust, public-private partnerships, democratic legitimacy, the influence of media attention, and branding.

Joop Koppenjan is Professor of Public Administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He studies public policy, complex decision-making, governance networks, public-private partnerships, and public service delivery in areas like transport, water, urban governance, social support, care, and safety.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Government & Business