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Networking and Performance


Only students of the MSc Public Administration can take this course.


Objectives: 1. The course will contribute to the knowledge related objective of the programme by providing students with a thorough grounding in the literature on networks and their role in the public sector. 2. The course will contribute to the skills related objectives of the programme by guiding the students in conducting a joint research project in the field. By jointly identifying the relevant gaps in the research agenda and defining the appropriate method and approach to data collection and then evaluating the results, the course will make a major contribution to developing the students’ research related skills.

Content: The relation between inter-organizational networks and organizational performance has been studied mainly from two perspectives. The first is the perspective of the ego-centered networks of public managers. The second is the “whole network” perspective. Research shows that the network perspective is crucial to understand vital questions of collaboration and coordination in the public sector. Within the network approach, alternative hypotheses have been formulated about successful networks and networking, for example the intensity of networking, the closure of network ties, and paradoxical effects of individual and collective strategies in networks on performance. This is even more important considering the massive public sector reforms that are planned in many countries across the world for the coming decades. In this course we study the mechanisms that underlie successful collaboration and coordination between organizations and test some core hypotheses on newly collected data.

Method of instruction

The mode of instruction is close interaction between professor and student in tutorial format.

In part I of the course, the students familiarize themselves with the core literature and most recent research regarding the role of networks in public sector management and their effects on performance. They report on the key findings of current research and discuss these with the instructor. They also report and discuss identifiable gaps in the research agenda in the field.

In part II the student undertakes guided research on one of the topics identified in part I together with the instructor.

Study material

O’Toole, L.J., Jr., and Meier, K.J. 2011. Public Management. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

In addition: A selection of articles from the most prominent academic journals in the field.


The main components for the assessment will be the report on the literature for part I and the draft article produced as end result of the guided research for part II.

Course material is also obligatory for the assessment and draft article, as far as it is set out in sheets, handouts and other information media.


This is the schedule