Collaborative Governance Theory and Practice

Emerson, Kirk and Tina Nabatchi. "Evaluating the productivity of collaborative governance regimes: a performance matrix." Pubilc Performance & Management Review 38.4 (2015): 717-747. 
Experiments in collaborative governance over the last several decades have transformed the way the public’s business is getting done. Despite growing interest, empirical research on the performance of cross-boundary collaboration continues to be limited by conceptual and methodological challenges. This article extends previous research to develop a performance matrix for assessing the productivity of collaborative governance regimes (CGRs). Three performance levels (actions, outcomes, and adaptation) are addressed at three units of analysis (participant organizations, the CGR itself, and target goals), creating a performance matrix of nine critical dimensions of CGR productivity. This performance matrix is illustrated with a case study of a CGR operating on the U.S.-Mexico border.
~ Won the Best Paper of the Year Award in 2016 from the American Society for Public Administration, Section for Public Performance and Management. 
Emerson, Kirk and Tina Nabatchi. Collaborative Governance Regimes. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. December 2015.

Squarely grounded in both theory and practice, drawing from multiple disciplines and decades of professional experience, and using wide-ranging case examples, Emerson and Nabatchi offer an accessible framework for understanding collaborative governance, a typology for characterizing different kinds of collaborative governance regimes, and a comprehensive approach to evaluating both collaborative performance. They also provide generous guidance for scholars and practitioners who design, manage, and study collaborative governance regimes.

This volume offers a compelling framework for understanding collaborative governance and the authors apply that framework to actual cases. It is rare that such an intellectually-grounded pursuit can result in usable and actionable knowledge. This book does just that.

– Michael McGuire, professor and executive associate dean for Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University

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Emerson, Kirk, Tina Nabatchi, and Stephen Balogh. "An integrative framework for collaborative governance." Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 22, no. 1 (2012): 1-29.
Abstract: Collaborative governance draws from diverse realms of practice and research in public administration. This article synthesizes and extends a suite of conceptual frameworks, research findings, and practice-based knowledge into an integrative framework for collaborative governance. The framework specifies a set of nested dimensions that encompass a larger system context, a collaborative governance regime, and its internal collaborative dynamics and actions that can generate impacts and adaptations across the systems. The framework provides a broad conceptual map for situating and exploring components of cross-boundary governance systems that range from policy or program-based intergovernmental cooperation to place-based regional collaboration with nongovernmental stakeholders to public-private partnerships. The framework integrates knowledge about individual incentives and barriers to collection action, collaborative social learning and conflict resolution processes, and institutional arrangements for cross-boundary collaboration. It is presented as a general framework that might be applied to analyses at different scales, in different policy arenas, and varying levels of complexity. The article also offers 10 propositions about the dynamic interactions among components within the framework and concludes with a discussion about the implications of the framework for theory, research, evaluation, and practice.  Download through Research Gate here.
Emerson, Kirk, and Andrea K. Gerlak. "Adaptation in collaborative governance regimes." Environmental management 54, no. 4 (2014): 768-781.
Abstract: Adaptation and the adaptive capacity of human and environmental systems have been of central concern to natural and social science scholars, many of whom characterize and promote the need for collaborative cross-boundary systems that are seen as flexible and adaptive by definition. Researchers who study collaborative governance systems in the public administration, planning and policy literature have paid less attention to adaptive capacity specifically and institutional adaptation in general. This paper bridges the two literatures and finds four common dimensions of capacity, including structural arrangements, leadership, knowledge and learning, and resources. In this paper, we focus on institutional adaptation in the context of collaborative governance regimes and try to clarify and distinguish collaborative capacity from adaptive capacity and their contributions to adaptive action. We posit further that collaborative capacities generate associated adaptive capacities thereby enabling institutional adaptation within collaborative governance regimes. We develop these distinctions and linkages between collaborative and adaptive capacities with the help of an illustrative case study in watershed management within the National Estuary Program. Download from Springer here.
Gerlak, Andrea K., Mark Lubell, and Tanya Heikkila. "The promise and performance of collaborative governance." Oxford handbook of US environmental policy (2012): 413-434.