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Networks and Governance



Public policy making increasingly takes place in inter-organizational (public sector) networks. In these networks, public organizations, NGOs, private organizations, and citizen groups jointly engage in bargaining, coordination, and resource exchange to solve policy problems that affect all members to some extent. We see these networks at various levels of government (supranational, national, and local), and in various forms (e.g., public-private partnerships, government-mandated networks, transnational governance organizations, e-governance, and grass-root citizen initiatives).

The relatively recent interest in public sector networks has already sparked a wealth of literature on their initiation, functioning, management, and performance. Questions that will be addressed in this course are: can public sector networks be distinguished from more traditional forms of organization (i.e. markets and hierarchies), and how? How and why do these networks emerge? What characteristics of members, relationship structure, and policy context may affect network performance? And, importantly, how should public administrators go about managing networks?

In this course, we connect the study of these substantive questions to the specific analytical tools that exist for network analysis in general (that is, for the study of any network). Hence, students will acquire basic social network analysis (SNA) skills and become acquainted with social network software through assignments in the computer lab. At the end of the course, students will be evaluated on the basis of an original public sector network analysis (paper).

Methods of Instruction

A combination of lectures, class discussions of the assigned literature, and computer laboratory sessions. Attendance is compulsory. Students must have handed in the computer assignments and shown a decent effort to pass the course.

Study Material

Wasserman, S., and K. Faust (1994). Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Various journal articles to be announced


An individual paper based on an original public sector network analysis.


Tuesday 3 September until 22 October, 9.00-11.00 hrs in 1A32

Entrance Requirements