In search of network performance


Networks are many things, but certainly an important feature in contemporary government. In an era of collaboration, as Agranoff and McGuire (2003) label it, governments are increasingly networked, using and engaging in all sorts of networks to achieve policy goals. Often, working in and through networks is regarded as the best or even only way to solve wicked problems (Goldsmith & Eggers, 2004). However, at the same time, criticism towards networks as a problem-solving strategy seems to increase in the field: they cost money, are time-consuming, cause transparency and accountability problems and so on (Huxham & Vangen, 2005; Kenis & Provan, 2009; Sørensen & Torfing, 2007). In the region of Flanders (Belgium), for instance, one of the main political issues is to regain grip on the hollowed out state, where much policy making and policy-making capacity is said to be ‘lost’ in a nebula of networks of which neither politicians nor public managers can make sense anymore.

In Sandra Groeneveld and Steven Van De Walle (Eds), New steering concepts in public management. Emerald: Bingley