Styring gjennom nettverk. Koordinering, ansvarliggjøring og institusjonalisering av styringsnettverk i norske byregioner
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In recent years the city region has developed as an arena for policy development. In this arenadifferent interests and values are coordinated in order to solve complex problems. InNorwegian city regions this is especially visible within development policy. In this policyarena, city centers and surrounding municipalities are working together and both public andprivate stakeholders are involved. In this thesis this is referred to as governing throughnetworks, or network governance. The development of governance networks as frame forpolicy development raises principal questions related to whether this is a wanted developmentregarding efficient and democratic governance.Case studies of three city-regional cases from Tromsø, Stavanger, and Bergen are studiedalong three main dimensions; coordination, democratic accountability, andinstitutionalization. The main question under investigation is what significance developmentof a governance network can have for effective and democratic governance. The balance liesin the relation between creating better and more efficient collaborative solutions and at thesame time securing acceptance and legitimacy based on democratic norms. Such an approachprovides important arguments related to the future role of governance networks as acoordination mechanism, a tool for governance, and as a policy arena.The main goal with this dissertation is to develop a better understanding of how governancenetworks are organized and how this affects network processes and the overall influence inNorwegian city regional development policy. Three research questions are posed anddiscussed through three articles. Through these articles a basis for a comprehensive analysis islaid. The first article focuses on coordination of different interests and how this is played outwithin the frames of governance networks. The article points at the significant role of theoperative manager working in between interests by creating room for balancing efficient anddemocratic performance. Adaptation and structural conditions given by public authoritiesaffect how this role is played out.The second article addresses the challenge of creating democratic accountable governancenetworks. The article utilizes an extended notion of democratic accountability, and argues thatgovernance networks involved in policy processes have to take their role as democraticaccountable actors seriously. In order to inspire confidence between governance networks andregional society, inclusion through metagovernance is not alone a sufficient solution.Transparency (openness, predictability, and clarity in roles) and control (open arenas andresponsiveness) are also essential for a governance network to be perceived as democraticaccountable.The third article discovers how governance networks can develop from loose links toward anintegrated and stable arena with clear purposes and functions. Essential conditions for suchdevelopment are maturation over time and legitimacy. It is argued that a governance networkconsolidates its role in the city-region by having a clear function as coordinator and as anarena for regional development policy. This role is evaluated continually and depends ongovernance network members and existing government institutions to perceive the purpose,way of organizing, and output as acceptable. In the overall, comprehensive chapters of the dissertation, the relationship between the threearticles in both the empirical and theoretical sense is assessed, and the main research questionis discussed. Perspectives on network governance are used in order to identify and describenetwork processes in the three studied cases. Institutional perspectives are used in order tounderstand and explain variation in observations of organization and process (coordination,democratic accountability, and institutionalization) and further how it affects effective anddemocratic governance.The results of the overall analysis (based on the three articles) can be summarized alongempirical, theoretical, and normative purposes and contribution.Empirically, the analysis contributes to increased insight in how governance networks, basedon different organizational forms and purposes, develop in city regional contexts. The studyillustrates how these variations affect the network process and outcome. The way oforganizing, making strategies, and producing results determined whether their environmentaccepts the governance network. The internal process between network members is closelycoupled to the environment. Because of this link, the borderline between “within” and“outside” the network is blurred. This further affects the possibility for the governancenetwork to strengthen and develop further.Theoretically, the analysis contributes to combine network approaches with institutionalperspectives, proving that mechanisms in network governance cannot be explained by ‘one’logic. Establishment of governance networks is based on a functional reason where actorsjoin in with different motives and goals. At this point different values and logics meet. Theinstitutional framework also illustrates how governance networks are flexible and dynamic,and organizations or institutions are not. Networks have to work and adjust to theenvironment continually. They have few stable administrative capacities to meet demandsrelated to involvement, transparency, reporting, and documentation compared to democraticinstitutions. This institutional picture supports the argument for a post-liberal understandingof democracy, replacing the traditional representative democratic norm. This brings me to thenormative purpose and contribution.Normatively, the thesis argues for governance networks as useful arenas and governance toolsin policy processes crossing geographical and institutional borders. A critical point is howthese processes are handled today. The thesis illustrates that establishment of governancenetworks is not a “one-time activity”, but demands continual evaluation and a sharp andactive relation between public authorities and the members of the governance network. Itdemands flexible follow-up where the balance between control and guidance do not pressurethe dynamics between the members of the governance network. Predictability for all partiesand operative management is in this respect essential. Efficient network governance withinacceptable democratic norms is therefore not a responsibility governance networks carryalone. It is also a responsibility of public authorities in order to make sure that the governancenetworks function and their potential is being used to the maximum extent possible.
Paper I: Holmen, A. K. T. (2011) “Fra løse kontakter til formaliserte kontrakter”: utvikling av byregionale styringsnettverk. Norsk Statsvitenskapelig tidsskrift 27(2): 87-111, August 2011. Full text not available in BORA due to publisher restrictions. The article is available at: http://www.idunn.no/ts/nst/2011/02/art01Paper II: Holmen, A. K. T. (2011) Governance Networks in City-regions: In the spirit of Democratic Accountability? Public Policy and Administration 26(4): 399-418, April 2011. Full text not available in BORA due to publisher restrictions. The article is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0952076710375773Paper III: Holmen, A. K. T. (2011) Managing in between: coordination of interest in Governance Networks. Full text not available in BORA.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
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