The impact of network management and complexity on multi-level coordination


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Public Administration;93(2)



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In order to meet the challenges of an increasingly fragmented public sector and severe wicked problems, network structures have become an important part of contemporary public administration. Thus, managing networks is a central concern for public managers. The article focuses on networks being established in Norway in accordance with the EU Water Framework Directive. The mandatory networks consist of actors representing different levels of government and several policy sectors, having highly asymmetric interests, interdependencies, and power relations. Based on comprehensive survey material, the article illuminates how the important role of network management on multi-level coordination is conditioned by complexity. Rather surprisingly, the more complex networks score better on coordination, and the most promising management strategy seems to depend upon institutional complexity. Direct and connecting strategies seem to be required in the most complex settings, while in less complex settings, indirect facilitative strategies are more effective to achieve coordination.



This is the accepted version of the following article: Hovik, S. & Hanssen, G. S. (2015). The impact of network management and complexity on multi-level coordination. Public Administration, 93(2), 506-523., which has been published in final form at

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