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THE IMPACT OF NETWORK MANAGEMENT ON OUTCOMES IN GOVERNANCE NETWORKS

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... ERIK-HANS KLIJN,; BRAM STEIJN,; JURIAN EDELENBOS. Article first published online: 14 MAR 2010. ... How to Cite. KLIJN, E.-H., STEIJN, B. and EDELENBOS, J. (2010), THE IMPACT OF NETWORK MANAGEMENT ON OUTCOMES IN GOVERNANCE NETWORKS. ...
  The Impact of Network Management on Outcomes in Governance Networks This article is published as: Klijn, E.H, B. Steijn, J. Edelenbos (2010), The impact of network management strategies on the outcomes in governance networks, in Public  Administration vol 88, no4: 1063-1082   Erik-Hans Klijn Bram Steijn Jurian Edelenbos Summary There is a vast amount of literature and research on network management strategies. However, only a limited portion of this literature examines the relationship between network management strategies and outcomes (for an exception see Meier and O’Toole 2001) Most of the research focuses on managerial activity or networking rather than on the question of which types of strategies matter the most for outcomes of complex processes in networks. This paper attempts to address the question of whether managerial strategies matter for outcomes and also explores which types of strategies have an effect on outcomes. The research is based on a survey sent to respondents involved in environmental projects in The Netherlands. The findings show that there is a strong effect of the number of employed network management strategies on perceived outcomes, but a few variations in the effect of four constructed types of network management strategies are found. These include: exploring content, connecting, arranging and process agreements. Author information Professor Dr E.H. Klijn (Professor, Department of Public Administration, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy, University of  Birmingham) Professor Dr B. Steijn (Professor, Department of Public Administration, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)  Dr J. Edelenbos (Associate Professor, Department of Public Administration, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands) Keywords : governance networks, network management, types of management strategies, network outcomes    1. Introduction: managing networks Today, there is a vast amount of literature on governance networks and the ways in which actors within these networks achieve outcomes. Within this discussion, much attention has recently been paid to the role and importance of network management and network managers. One of the crucial questions being asked is whether network management actually improves cooperation processes within networks and contributes to the outcomes of these networks. There have so far been few studies that attempt to trace the influence of network management in general (for an exception see Meier and O’Toole, 2001; 2007), and almost no studies that explore the effects of separate managerial strategies on outcomes of networks. The need for managing networks The mantra of modern public administration theory is that many decision-making processes take place within complex networks of actors (Hanf and Scharpf, 1978; Kaufman et all, 1986; Marsh and Rhodes, 1992; Kickert et all, 1997; Rhodes, 1997). These networks emerge out of a necessity to interact and are, on the one hand, consciously planned in the sense that actors deliberately interact and attempt to structure these interactions with organisations and rules, but on the other hand, are also unplanned as a result of coincidental interactions and strategies and previously created rules. Governance networks can roughly be defined as “more or less stable patterns of social relations between mutual dependent actors, which form around policy program and/or cluster of means and which are formed, maintained and changed through series of games” (Koppenjan and Klijn, 2004, pp.69-70) 1 . Crucial to the emergence and existence of networks are dependency relations between actors (Hanf and Scharpf, 1978). The resource dependencies around policy problems or policy programs require actors to interact with one another and create more intensive and enduring interactions (Laumann and Knoke, 1987). Not surprisingly, there has been a proliferation of literature that has attempted to understand this development theoretically. This type of literature, which can be labelled  as a network perspective on public policy and management, does not focus so much on the actions of a public actor alone but more on the actions of a network of actors. As such, it attempts to provide a tool for analysing, but also for managing, contemporary governance processes (Scharpf, 1978; Rhodes, 1997; Mandell, 2001; Agranoff and McGuire, 2001). A number of terms have been coined to describe this management activity, including meta governance (Sorenson and Torfing, 2007), network governance and network facilitating, but the most popular terminology that is in use is network management (Agranoff and McGuire, 2001; Gage and Mandell, 1990; Kickert et all, 1997; Mandell, 2001). The basic argument is usually that without adequate network management strategies, it is very difficult, or even impossible, to achieve interesting outcomes in these complex interaction processes. What this article addresses: the effects of network management This article investigates the effects of network management strategies on perceived outcomes in governance networks. The research is based on a survey conducted in 2006-2007 where 337 responses to a questionnaire were received by individuals involved in environmental projects in The Netherlands. Environmental projects are very suitable for testing assumptions about the relationship between network management strategies and outcomes, because they are good examples of decision-making processes in governance networks. As we will explain in section 3 they deal with wicked problems, many actors are involved with relatively dense interactions and they are sustained over a long period of time (see for characteristics of governance networks: Koppenjan and Klijn, 2004; Sorensen and Torfing, 2007). The main research question that this article addresses is: What is the effect of network management strategies on perceived outcomes and what strategies seem to matter? Section 2 deals with basic assumptions about network management. A number of hypotheses for the research are derived based on the previous literature. Section 3 provides an explanation of the research design. Section 4 addresses the question of how network management strategies influence perceived outcomes in governance networks. Section 5 deals with the various types of network management strategies and their  effects. The article ends with several conclusions. 2. Network management and network managers: assumptions In public administration, we encounter an increasing number of situations where public actors arrange policy making, service delivery or policy implementation within networks of actors (Rhodes, 1997; Sorenson and Torfing, 2007). We use the term ‘network’ to describe public policy making and implementation through a web of relationships between government, business and civil society actors. Networks are associated with new systems for public policy deliberation, decision and implementation (Pierre and Peters 2000; Koppenjan and Klijn 2004). They are based on interdependencies, but not necessarily equity, between public, private and civil society actors. As a result of complex interactions which, by definition, characterise networks, it is no simple task to achieve mutually agreeable outcomes. Interactions within the network may produce sharp conflicts about, for instance, the distribution of the costs and benefits of a solution. The different perceptions of the actors involved on, for instance, the nature of the problem(s), the desired solution or the best organisational arrangements to utilize to ensure cooperation, can be major obstacles to achieve meaningful outcomes that satisfy the actors involved. This section looks at the influence of network management on outcomes in governance networks. Network management and outcomes are first defined. This is followed by a discussion of the literature on network management, to find out what has previously been said about its impact on outcomes. Subsequently, different types of network management strategies are highlighted. Two types of network management Since cooperation and the coordination of goals and interests do not occur on their own accord, it is necessary to steer interactions in policy games within networks. The (implicit) assumption in the literature is that a satisfactory outcome is often impossible without network management (Gage and Mandell, 1990; Agranoff and McGuire, 2001; Kickert et all, 1997). The deliberate attempt to govern processes in networks is called network management (Gage and Mandell, 1990; Kickert et al., 1997; Meier and O‘Toole, 2001). Network  management aims at initiating and facilitating interaction processes between actors (Friend et al., 1974), creating and changing network arrangements for better coordination (Rogers and Whetten, 1982; Scharpf, 1978) creating new content by exploring new ideas for instance (Koppenjan and Klijn, 2004) and guiding interactions (Gage and Mandell, 1990; Kickert et all., 1997). Various management strategies have been identified in the literature. In general most of the strategies of network management that have been mentioned can be categorized either as strategies of process management or of institutional design (Gage and Mandell, 1990; Koppenjan and Klijn, 2004). Process management strategies attempt to facilitate interactions between actors in policy games. What is crucial in these types of strategies is that although they are indirect in the sense that they try to facilitate interactions and the actions of other actors, they consider the structure of the network (the rules, positions of actors and resource division) as a given. They are thus direct strategies aimed at actors and interactions (hands-on strategies; see Sorenson and Torfing, 2007). If management strategies are aimed at altering the institutional characteristics of the network (like changing actor positions, entry rules or other more drastic ways to intervene in the structure of the network), they can be labelled as institutional design strategies (Koppenjan and Klijn, 2004). This article focuses solely on process management strategies. Outcomes in governance networks There has been much discussion in the governance literature on how to measure outcomes of complex decision-making processes in networks. The main conclusion is that measuring these outcomes is a difficult task. One of the reasons for this is that actors have different goals and it is thus difficult to pick a single goal by which to measure outcomes for these processes. Measuring outcomes is also problematic because decision-making processes in governance networks are lengthy and the goals of actors are likely to change overtime. Goal displacement is the negative term for this phenomenon while learning is the positive term (see Koppenjan and Klijn, 2004).   Another problem encountered while conducting our research is that it is not possible to assess the ‘objective’ outcomes (realized dwellings, infrastructure, time of decision-
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