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Networking for Performance


Admission requirements

Only students from the MPA specialization Public Management can take this course.


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, international trade 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 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? How should organizational leaders go about managing (their) networks?

In this course, we connect the study of these research questions to the specific analytical tools that exist for network analysis in general (social network analysis, or SNA). Moreover, the course lets the students practice their actual networking skills as a manager in inter-organizational settings by means of an expert guest seminar. Hence, students will acquire both basic analytical and practical networking 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 empirical public sector network analysis (paper).

Course objectives

  • To understand and compare the key theories in the field of network management and public service performance

  • To critically evaluate state-of-the art empirical research in this field

  • To design and execute a small scale empirical study on the link between management and performance in an actual public sector organization

  • to provide strategic advice (in written and oral form) to managers in collaboration with other students

  • To engage effectively in actual networking situations as a manager


On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures (6x 3 hours)

  • Networking skills seminar (1x 5 hours)

  • Computer seminars (3x 2 hours)

Compulsary attendance for computer seminars.

Course Load

140 hours:

  • Lectures and seminars: 29h

  • Fieldwork: 10 hours

  • Examination : 5 hours

  • Self-study: 96

Assessment method

Individual written exam: 60%
Individual paper: 30%
Participation: 10%


The Blackboard page will be operational at the latest two weeks before the start of the course.

Reading list

The study material consists various academic articles assigned for each session.


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.

Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.

Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted there.