Networks and Collaboration in the Public Sector: Essential research approaches, methodologies and analytic tools, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Networks and Collaboration in the Public Sector

Essential research approaches, methodologies and analytic tools, 1st Edition

Edited by Joris Voets, Robyn Keast, Christopher Koliba


304 pages | 22 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138682726
pub: 2019-08-27
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Networks and other collaborations are central to the public sector’s ability to respond to their diverse responsibilities, from international development and regional governance, to policy development and service provision. Great strides have been made towards understanding their formation, governance and management, but more opportunities to explore methodologies and measures is required to ensure they are properly understood.

This volume showcases an array of selected research methods and analytics tools currently used by scholars and practitioners in network and collaboration research, as well as emerging styles of empirical investigation. Although it cannot attempt to capture all technical details for each one, this book provides a unique catalogue of compelling methods for researchers and practitioners, which are illustrated extensively with applications in the public and non-profit sector.

By bringing together leading and upcoming scholars in network research, the book will be of enormous assistance in guiding students and scholars in public management to study collaboration and networks empirically by demonstrating the core research approaches and tools for investigating and evaluating these crucially important arrangements.


"Over the past three decades, scholarship of networks has grown substantially. However, scholars still needs to address major challenges around conceptual, theoretical, and methodological concerns in network scholarship. This volume, edited by leading scholars, is a great contribution to methods and methodological issues in networks and network governance, which includes diverse methodological perspectives from the authors applied those in network research."Naim Kapucu, Pegasus Professor and Director at the School of Public Administration, University of Central Florida, Orlando, USA

"The editors have brought together an invaluable collection of many of the methodological approaches to network and collaboration commonly used in public administration research. The chapters include descriptions of methods as diverse as case studies and narrative inquiry, surveys, social network analysis, and agent-based modelling. Combined with the integrative and forward-looking final chapters, this book provides an excellent resource for researchers and public managers alike."Jenny M. Lewis, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and President of the International Research Society for Public Management

"Despite the vast and growing literature on governance networks and collaboration, until now a text presenting a comprehensive overview of methods and methodology of network research was missing. This book fills the gap. It discusses the nuts and bolts of well-established as well as new, contemporary methods, and their potentials given current and future research contexts. An essential guidebook for everyone interested in network and collaboration research: students, practitioners, early carrier and established researchers."Joop Koppenjan, Professor of Public Administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands

Table of Contents

1. A methodological perspective on network and collaboration research

Joris Voets, Christopher Koliba and Robyn Keast

2. Researching networks through sequential explanatory design

Bob Agranoff and Aleksey Kolpakov

3. The case study in researching networks and collaborative arrangements

Ming Cheng and Joris Voets

4. Survey approach

Ingmar van Meerkerk, Jurian Edelenbos and Erik-Hans Klijn

5. Narrative inquiry in public network research

Jennifer Dodge, Angel Saz-Carranza and Sonia Ospina

6. Q Methodology

Rob Kivits

7. Researching inter-organizational collaboration using RO-AR

Siv Vangen

8. Process tracing

Robyn Keast

9. Social network analysis and dynamic network analysis

Robin Lemaire and Jörg Raab

10. Qualitative comparative analysis in public network research

Denita Cepiku, Daniela Cristofoli and Benedetta Trivellato

11. Using agent-based models to study network and collaborative governance

Christopher Koliba, Asim Zia and Scott Merrill

12. Practitioners: What do they want to know?

John M. Kamensky

13. Network and collaboration research futures

Dan Chamberlain and Ben Farr-Wharton

14. Cross-cutting themes and opportunities for network and collaboration research

Robyn Keast, Christopher Koliba and Joris Voets

About the Editors

Joris Voets is Associate Professor of Public Administration at the Department of Public Governance, Management & Finance at the Faculty of Economics & Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium.

Robyn Keast is a Professor in the School of Business and Tourism, Southern Cross University, Australia.

Christopher Koliba is a Professor in the Community Development and Applied Economics Department at University of Vermont, USA, Co-Director of the Social Ecological Gaming and Simulation (SEGS) Lab and fellow at the Gund Institute on the Environment.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Public Management

The study and practice of public management has undergone profound changes across the world. Over the last quarter century, we have seen

  • the increasing criticism of public administration as the over-arching framework for the provision of public services
  • the rise (and critical appraisal) of the ‘New Public Management’ as an emergent paradigm for the provision of public services
  • the transformation of the ‘public sector’ into the cross-sectoral provision of public services
  • the growth of the governance of inter-organizational relationships as an essential element in the provision of public services

In reality these trends have not so much replaced each other as elided or co-existed together – the public policy process has not gone away as a legitimate topic of study, intra-organizational management continues to be essential to the efficient provision of public services, whist the governance of inter-organizational and inter-sectoral relationships is now essential to the effective provision of these services.

This series is dedicated to presenting and critiquing this important body of theory and empirical study. It will publish books that both explore and evaluate the emergent and developing nature of public administration, management and governance (in theory and practice) and examine the relationship with and contribution to the over-arching disciplines of management and organizational sociology. Books in the series will be of interest to academics and researchers in this field, students undertaking advanced studies, and reflective policy makers and practitioners.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Nonprofit Organizations & Charities
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Social Policy