Public and Cross-Sector Network Management


Provan, Keith G., and H. Brinton Milward. "A preliminary theory of interorganizational network effectiveness: A comparative study of four community mental health systems." Administrative science quarterly (1995): 1-33.

Abstract: This paper presents the results of a comparative study of interorganizational networks, or systems, of mental health delivery in four U.S. cities, leading to a preliminary theory of network effectiveness. Extensive data were collected from surveys, interviews, documents, and observations. Network effectiveness was assessed by collecting and aggregating data on outcomes from samples of clients, their families, and their case managers at each site. Results of analyses of both quantitative and qualitative data collected at the individual, organizational, and network levels of analysis showed that network effectiveness could be explained by various structural and contextual factors, specifically, network integration, external control, system stability, and environmental resource munificence. Based on the findings, we develop testable propositions to guide theory development and future research on network effectiveness.  Available from Research Gate here.

Provan, Keith G., and H. Brinton Milward. "Do networks really work? A framework for evaluating public‐sector organizational networks." Public administration review 61, no. 4 (2001): 414-423.
Abstract: Although cooperative, interorganizational networks have become a common mechanism for delivery of public services, evaluating their effectiveness is extremely complex and has generally been neglected. To help resolve this problem, we discuss the evaluation of networks of community-based, mostly publicly funded health, human service, and public welfare organizations. Consistent with pressures to perform effectively from a broad range of key stakeholders, we argue that networks must be evaluated at three levels of analysis: community, network, and organization/participant levels. While the three levels are related, each has its own set of effectiveness criteria that must be considered. The article offers a general discussion of network effectiveness, followed by arguments explaining effectiveness criteria and stakeholders at each level of analysis. Finally, the article examines how effectiveness at one level of network analysis may or may not match effectiveness criteria at another level and the extent to which integration across levels may be possible.  Available from Research Gate here.
Bertelli, Anthony M., and Craig R. Smith. "Relational contracting and network management." Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 20, no. suppl 1 (2010): i21-i40.
Abstract: Our argument connects the management of relational contracts with the management of policy networks. Thinking about bilateral, horizontal extensions of governmental authority in a state of agents can be enhanced, we claim, because of the rich offerings of relational contracting theory. We review key results from economic theories of relational contracting, provide public sector examples, and present a set of testable propositions that suggest a rationale for the creation and expansion of policy networks through relational contracting and its management. Although adding theoretical leverage to research on public sector contracting, our approach provides one means of explaining the emergence of policy networks and implications for managing within them. Available through JPART or your univesitry library here.