Complexity & network governance
Two dominant perspectives in public administration and public management research
Purpose and objectives:
Society faces complex issues that require complex solutions. Scholars are studying the range of public management challenges from many different perspectives, and complexity and network perspectives are two dominant ones in public administration and public management research.
Our SIG was convened in 2019 in response to the increasing number of panels and papers presented at IRSPM conferences addressing the intersection of complexity and network governance. We aim to advance research on complexity and network theory, through scholarly debate and publications including systematic literature reviews, special journal issues, monographs, edited books and thought leadership; developing and supporting research grant applications in relevant areas; and identifying research intersections with other academic and practitioner interest groups within and beyond IRSPM.
Much of the literature on the complexity and network governance remains theoretical, but the theories and models are increasingly useful for practitioners. Our SIG intends to translate research findings into practice by bringing practitioners more fully into the discussion of which tools and models can be most directly applied and how can the application of Complexity/Network-friendly theories be evaluated over time.
Key dialogues, presentations, and outputs:
In our first 2 years of operation, SIG members were active in the following:
- Recent publications by SIG Conveners:
- “Networks and collaboration in the public sector; essential research approaches, methodologies and analytical tools” Voets, Keast & Koliba (2020)
- “Complexity Theory in Public Administration” Eppel & Rhodes (eds) (2020)
- Klijn, E.H., I. van Meerkerk, J. Edelenbos (2020), How do network characteristics influence network managers’ choice of strategies, Public Money and management. Vol 40(2): 149-159 https://doi.org/10.1080/09540962.2019.1665828 OPEN ACCESS
- Webinars / Workshops:
- CGN and Practitioner SIGs collaborated on a ‘mini-conference’ for practitioners titled “Network Governance and Digital Technologies in a Covid 19 World” at which a number of SIG members discussed their work and the application to the Covid 19 crisis.
- IRSPM (2020) Panel: “SIG Complexity & Governance Networks” (49 Abstracts of which 25 were accepted for presentation – cancelled due to Covid 19) Thematic sub-themes included network governance theory & practice; leadership; performance evaluation and research methods
- IRSPM (2019) Panel: “Advancing governance networks theory and working with social complexity (16 papers presented)
- The CGN SIG is connected to the network research methodologies course made available to early-stage researchers prior to the main IRSPM conference. PhD students interested in a deep understanding of network theory and research methodologies are invited to apply to this course each year.