Local governance

Supporting the development of an international, worldwide network of researchers in the area of local governance

Purpose and objectives:

The Local Governance special interest group (SIG) was created in April 2013, with the aim of supporting the development of an international, worldwide network of researchers in the area of local governance, enhancing the stability and continuity of their collaboration.

Our SIG has a stable group of attendees and new scholars joining each year. It has provided publication opportunities, has enabled and promoted new collaborations among its members, and has contributed to a geographically diversified IRSPM membership by engaging scholars from underrepresented areas such as Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

We aim to strengthen coordination between IRSPM researchers focused on local governance issues, particularly in light of the rising number of autonomous panels referring to the local governance area for IRSPM conferences, and the emergence of new international funding opportunities for local governance research (such as Horizon and COST EU calls).

Key dialogues, presentations, and outputs:

Since 2013, the Local Governance SIG has organized several activities. These include winter seminars and academic journals’ special issues, besides the thematic tracks at the IRSPM annual conferences.

The 1st seminar of the Local Governance SIG was held on 2-3 December 2013 under the heading “Rethinking Local Governance to Enhance Public Services”. Over thirty participants from Europe, UK, USA, Mexico, and Singapore, gathered at the University of Milano-Bicocca to discuss the new trends in local governance and their implications for the organization and management of public services.

A seminar entitled “Corporate Governance, Accounting, and Accountability of State-Owned Enterprises and Agencies: Taking Stock and Next Steps in Theory and Practice” was held at the Leipzig University, Faculty of Economics and Management Science, Germany in February 2015.

Another international seminar entitled “Is Local Always Better? Strengths and Limitations of Local Government for Service Delivery” were held at the University of Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa on 3-4 December 2015. Besides academic paper presentations, the participants from Europe, Africa, and Asia were introduced in community building projects in the Langa township of Cape Town. Thanks to the hosting of the seminar by the University of Western Cape, the SIG has now started activities in Africa, an area that shall be on the radar in the future of the SIG. A special issue of the articles presented and additional articles collected by an open call for papers was published at the ranked International Journal of Public Sector Management in 2018.

A Ph.D. Summer School on Local Governance has been organized by Reto Steiner at the ZHAW School of Management and Law (Switzerland) for July 2019. Lecturers include SIG co-chair Denita Cepiku and other scholars from the Local Governance network.

Recent research outputs from SIG members include:

  • Steiner, R., Kaiser, C., Tapscott, C., & Navarro, C. (2018) (eds.). Is local always better? Strengths and limitations of local governance for service delivery. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 31(4).
  • Klassen, T. R., Cepiku, D., & Lah, T. J. (Eds.). (2017). The Routledge Handbook of Global Public Policy and Administration. Taylor & Francis.
Reto Steiner

Reto Steiner

ZHAW School of Management and Law in Winterthur, Zurich, Switzerland

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