Collaborative governance

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


The movement towards Neoliberalism brought on a major change to the way of planning. Today modern planning involves a diversity of public and private institutions that work together to collaborate.[1] Governance is a form of leadership in which the leaders effectively communicate with all sectors to achieve more than what any one sector could achieve on its own. “The ultimate goal is to develop a contingency approach of collaboration that can highlight conditions under which collaborative governance will be more or less effective as an approach to policy making and public management” [2] Collaborative Governance is different from government because governance is a term for both the informal and formal relationships for use in problem solving and decision-making, and government is a formal authority. Also included is it allows for the conventional policy process to be imbedded but also allows for the ability to widen the possible outcomes of policy by allowing the collaboration between the public and private sector.[3] Collaborative Governance requires three things which are support, leadership, and a forum. The support identifies the problem to be fixed. The leadership gathers the forum. Then, the members of the forum collectively form an answer.[4]

There are many different forms of collaborative governance as such as Consensus Building and Collaborative Network

  • Consensus Building – "A process where stakeholders build consensus on actions to address specific public policy problems; community visioning is a process where members of a community build consensus on a descriptions of the community’s desired future and on actions to help make goals for the future a reality."[5]
  • Collaborative Network – “This system is meant to accomplish more alignment among community needs, strategies of service agencies, priority outcomes, and resource allocation. It’s also meant to accomplish building social capital; integration of human service delivery; and interconnected strategies for relationship building, learning processes, and measurement and modeling among the participants.” [6]


Collaborative governance has emerged as a response to the failures of downstream implementation and to the high cost and politicization of regulation.[7] The field of public administration has changed its focus recently from that of a bureaucracy to that of a collaborative and networked society. Through this public administrators have blurred the lines between the people and the government. Though a bureaucracy still remains, public administrators have started to recognize that more gets completed through public works and networking.[8] The ideals for collaborative governance are nothing new in the political realm, however, the wide use of this leadership style has gained momentum in recent years. With the rise of neoliberalism and its ideals for a competitive free-market economy, lead to a shift toward planning with both pubic and private sectors. Neoliberalism ideological gained popularity in 1980s, but collaborative governance regimes date far before then. [9] One of the oldest and most successful collaboration models in public administration emerged post World War II in Los Angeles County, Calif. The "Lakewood Plan” which allowed local control over public agencies as well as private organizations to collaborate in the delivery of municipal services the sovereign, unincorporated, city.[10]

Advantages of Collaborative Governance[edit]

The intent of collaborative governance is meant to improve the overall practice and effectiveness of public administration. It often helps policy makers identify and target problems, and then enables them to deliver action more effectively. Collaboration aims to benefit all those participating, because the incentive is to get all ends to reach a successful outcome. Stakeholders are more inclined to accept directions given or decisions made. It can also serve as a means to better policy solutions that have greater traction in the community. The contribution to new perspectives on issues and thus offer new opportunities to carry out strategies for change. For public officials who work in administration and management, collaborative governance can serve as a way of genuinely allowing a wider array of ideas and suggestions in the policy process. It may also be used to test ideas and analyze responses before implementation. For those who are not involved in formal government, it allows them to better understand the inner workings of government and carry more influence in the decision making process. For both public and private sectors, a commitment to collaboration is likely to drive organizational change and affect resource reallocation. Other advantages include combining relevant skills and capacities, and also allowing specialization. Overall, collaborative governance can lead to mutual learning and shared experiences, as well as provide direction for capacity building inside and outside agencies and organizations.[11]

Criticisms of Collaborative Governance[edit]

Criticisms of collaborative governance include disadvantages in the operationalization for this form of government. For example, in a complex structure with many entities working together, where everything is continuously changing, individual membership and assigned roles can become unclear and confusing. Some individuals involved act largely in a personal capacity, while others may act on behalf of agencies or organizations. Many are involved in daily cross-organizational interaction while others rarely meet which leads to most individuals are not clear who else serves as a member or what they represent. Secondly, the structural issues that present itself, affect the way collaborative agendas are formed and implemented. Open structures with loose leadership and organization allow for multiple participants from various groups to gain access to a fast expanding agenda. Achieving goals in a wide agenda becomes more difficult as an increasing number of players struggle to resolve differences and coordinate actions. With a lack of authoritative leadership, it may be difficult to find neutrality or common ground. Furthermore, challenges are faced for implementation when representatives are allowed to come and go with no real obligation to the rest of the collective collaborators. The accountability of participating members, unequal or hidden agenda setting by certain members, trust between members, and general power imbalances are all issues that can arise in collaborative government regimes. Language or culture barriers between organizations with different structures, procedures, professional languages, and conflicting values all result in a lack of neutrality and equality in collaborative governance regimes. Critics will argue that collaborative governance does not provide the stability and consistency required, and therefore deterring progress.[12]

Effects on Society[edit]

It has been suggested that collaborative governance has lasting effects compared to other forms of governance. Decisions made using collaborative governance are effective, and can actually be used. Collaboration helps prevent ideas from being made in a vacuum, by this the ideas that are implemented are actually practical which makes them more effective. Citizens that partake in collaborative governance not only see more effective policies but also have a chance to invest into their community. If the community has a interest or investment, there is more ideas to have that the only benefit of one group of people, as with more buy-in also comes more diversity, this leads to all lives improving within a community.[13]

Many social scientists point to the shift of collaborative governance to be caused by complex social issues (such as social exclusion, inequalities in health, community regeneration) which elude traditional approaches to governing through hierarchical instruments of control, while growing social differentiation has made the task of governing more difficult. To address these difficulties, the role of the state has had to shift at times from that of ‘governing’ through direct forms of control (hierarchical governance), to that of ‘governance’, in which the state must collaborate with a wide range of actors in networks that cut across the public, private and voluntary sectors, and operate across different levels of decision making. The UK, the USA and countries across much of Western Europe have attempted to shift the focus towards various forms of co-production with other agencies and with citizens themselves in order to increase civic participation.[14] In these conditions the classic form of hierarchical governance or representative democracy is seen as inefficient when it comes to engaging citizens and making them a part of the decision making process. Large projects and initiatives require involvement and communication with not only citizens but partnerships with other governmental agencies, and in some instances, international cooperation with foreign and non-governmental organizations— in which the classic form of governance is not as effective. For example, the expanding of the US-Mexico border has required input from all levels of US and Mexican governments, multiple government agencies (like U.S Forest Services and U.S. Border Patrol), land management, and other non-federal agencies for social affairs. Over the recent decades, all these parties had to collectively communicate to address issues of boarder security and protecting the natural resources in order to collaborate solutions to best suit these issues. A result from the Border Patrol and the Forest Service successfully enacted the terms of the 2006 memorandum of understanding, creating interagency forums, increasing field coordination and joint operations, and constructing fences and other tactical infrastructure.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roy, Parama. “Collaborative Planning – A Neoliberal Strategy? A Study of the Atlanta BeltLine” Elsevier 43.10 (2014): 59-68. EBSCO. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.
  2. ^ Ansell, Chris. "Duke University; Sites @ Duke" (PDF). 
  3. ^ Bradley, Quintin. “A ‘Performative’ Social Movement: The Emergence of Collective Contentions within Collaborative Governance” Space and Polity. 16.2. (2012): 215-232. EBSCO. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.
  4. ^ "What is Collaborative Governance?". NPCC. Policy Consensus Initiative. 
  5. ^ Bradley, Quintin. “A ‘Performative’ Social Movement: The Emergence of Collective Contentions within Collaborative Governance” Space and Polity. 16.2. (2012): 215-232. EBSCO. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.
  6. ^ Bradley, Quintin. “A ‘Performative’ Social Movement: The Emergence of Collective Contentions within Collaborative Governance” Space and Polity. 16.2. (2012): 215-232. EBSCO. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.
  7. ^ Ansell, C., & Gash, A. (n.d.). Collaborative Governance in Theory and Practice. Retrieved October 16, 2015, from
  8. ^ Morse, Ricardo; Stephens, John (Summer 2012). "Teaching Collaborative Governance: Phases, Competencies, and Case-Based Learning". Journal of Public Affairs Education 18 (3): 565. 
  9. ^ Collaborative planning – A neoliberal strategy? A study of the Atlanta BeltLine
  10. ^ From Contract Cities to Mass Collaborative Governance
  11. ^ Wanna, John (2008-01-01). Collaborative Governance: A New Era of Public Policy in Australia?. ANU E Press. ISBN 9781921536410. 
  12. ^ Huxham, C., Vangen, S., Huxham, C., & Eden, C. (2000). The Challenge of Collaborative Governance. Public Management: An International Journal of Research and Theory, 2:3, 337-358
  13. ^ "What is Collaborative Governance?". NPCC. Policy Consensus Initiative. Retrieved 2015-04-05. 
  14. ^ Newman, Janet; Barnes, Marian; Sullivan, Helen and Knops, Andrew (2004). Public participation and collaborative governance. Journal of Social Policy, 33(2), pp. 203–223.
  15. ^ Emerson, Kirk; Nabatchi, Tina (2015-10-02). "Evaluating the Productivity of Collaborative Governance Regimes: A Performance Matrix". Public Performance & Management Review 38 (4): 717–747. doi:10.1080/15309576.2015.1031016. ISSN 1530-9576. 

External links[edit]