1st Edition

The Politics of Collaborative Public Management A Primer

By Robert Agranoff, Aleksey Kolpakov Copyright 2023
    322 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Although one often thinks of collaborative management and related group problem-solving as different interests coming together in "peaceful harmony," nothing could be further from reality. Collaboration in real-world action requires steering and negotiation in virtually every situation, with a considerable process that precedes agreement. This progression is, in effect, a "mini" political and managerial process we have come to know as collaborative politics and its management. This volume explores the process and operations of collaboration and collaborative politics, from routine transactions—or "small p" politics—to the significant issue forces, or "big P" politics. Collaboration is defined here as the process of facilitating and operating in multiorganizational arrangements for addressing problems and producing solutions through the contributions of several organizations and individuals. Throughout the book, readers are gradually exposed to analysis of key findings in collaborative politics from the long research tradition in policy and political science.

    This book adapts a series of stories to highlight some of the dynamics of collaborative politics from a range of jurisdictions. It further analyzes the efficacy of storytelling as a learning tool and contributor to practice in different contexts. With collaborative politics often associated with negotiations among administrative actors, authors Drs. Robert Agranoff and Aleksey Kolpakov demonstrate how interorganizational/interagency collaboration operates and is managed, as well as how it has been modified or adjusted in its fundamental core concepts of bureaucratic organization and hierarchy. The Politics of Collaborative Public Management is designed as a core text for undergraduate and graduate classes on collaborative management and governance.

    Foreword by David H. Rosenbloom  Preface  1. From Bureaucracy to the Politics and Organization for Collaborative Management  2. Development of Collaborative Enterprises  3. Organizing Government to Meet Collaboration Challenges  4. The Processes of Reaching Agreement  5. On Power and Operations in Collaboration  6. The Politics of It All  7. Academic Studies of Collaborative Politics and Management  8. Stories in Collaborative Politics  9. The Process Challenges and Struggles of Joint Undertakings  10. Assessing and Improving Collaborative Performance  11. The Future Politics of Public Bureaucracy in a Connected Era  12. Conclusion: Administering Collaborative Affairs in the Digital Era


    Robert Agranoff was Professor Emeritus in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Bloomington, USA, and Catedrático, Government and Public Administration Program, Instituto Universitario Ortega y Gasset, Madrid, Spain. He published several books on collaborative management and intergovernmental relations, including Network Theory in the Public Sector (Routledge, 2014). 

    Aleksey Kolpakov is Visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Public Administration at Florida Atlantic University, USA. He is the author of two books and numerous technical and program evaluation reports for federal, state, and international agencies.

    "This is a book that provides students of public administration with an approach that allows them to escape from the issues of classic bureaucracy yet confront issues of structure, process and complexity. In addition, it places the reader in a world that is both universal and (as COVID-19 has shown) constantly changing. As such it prepares students for their venture into the field where they are likely to face incredible conflict and demands. It draws on important academic sources and places them in the classic conflict/collaboration dichotomy."

    Beryl A. Radin, Georgetown University, USA

    "The field of collaborative public management and intergovernmental relations lost a giant when Dr. Bob Agranoff passed away. Fortunately, Agranoff left one last parting gift, helped to completion by his co-author Aleksey Kolpakov, with The Politics of Collaborative Public Management, a must-read for any student of how collaboration is essential to pursue public ends. This book provides a much-needed missing piece to our understanding of collaboration: politics. Drs. Agranoff and Kolpakov artfully incorporate the dynamics of politics into the complicated world of the partnership between public organizations working across sectors and levels."

    Trevor Brown, Dean of John Glenn College of Public Affairs, Ohio State University, USA

    "In this timely volume, Agranoff and Kolpakov provide an excellent summary of the growing appreciation of collaboration with democratic and bureaucratic contexts. By illustrating the everyday practices of public administrators, they advance an important proposition: that collaboration is neither a new mode of operation nor something to be drawn on just for special occasions. Collaborative management is ubiquitous- from the coordination needed to build a new road or water system to the negotiations needed to carry out more complex intergovernmental relations to the more recent transitions to remote and hybrid workplaces. This is an essential read for anyone looking to build and maintain collaborative capacities for the common good."

    Christopher Koliba, Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor, University of Kansas, USA

    "The Politics of Collaborative Public Management should be a must-read for every CEO of a non-governmental agency that interfaces with a public bureaucracy—if just in the simple context of being a funding recipient. This is a valuable text for public administration students or other applied fields of study. Drs. Agranoff and Kolpakov do an excellent job of sharing and explaining the evolution of simple bureaucratic functioning to the increasing presence of collaborative management structures and relationships. Likewise, the information shared that portrayed the evolution from bureaucracy to collaboration via a combination of traditional and emergent ideas was invaluable."

    Art Dykstra, CEO of the Trinity Services Foundation, Human Services organization serving children and adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities or mental illness in the state of Illinois, USA