Metagovernance, Governance, and Learning

  • Marta Strumińska-Kutra


In this chapter it is argued that changes in patterns of governing in public administration (governance turn) require that public agencies develop their ability to learn and to critically reflect upon goals and the means by which to achieve them. The author proposes to regard the phenomenon of the governance turn through the lens of metagovernance and organizational learning concepts as, taken together, they allow us to capture the multilevel structure of both governance and learning. These theoretical frames coherently order the phenomenon of governance learning and link it to reflection. They establish a prescriptive model of governance indicating the forms of learning and the forms of governance that should be enhanced, depending on the specific requirements of a given situation. It is argued that good governance is reflexive governance.


Governance turn Learning Reflexive governance Good governance Metagovernance 


  1. Ansell, Christopher. 2011. Pragmatist Democracy. Evolutionary Learning as Public Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ansell, Christopher, and Robert Geyer. 2016. Pragmatic Complexity’ a New Foundation for Moving Beyond ‘Evidence-Based Policy Making’? Policy Studies.
  3. Ansell, Christopher, and Jacub Torfing, eds. 2014. Public Innovation Through Collaboration and Design. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Argyris, C., and Donald A. Schon. 1978. Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective. Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  5. Bevir, Marc. 2011. Governance as Theory, Practice and Dilemma. In The Sage Handbook of Governance, ed. Marc Bevir, 1–16. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Browne, Angela, and Aaron Wildavsky. 1983. Implementation as Exploration. In Implementation: How Great Expectations in Washington Are Dashed in Oakland, ed. J.L. Pressman and Aaron Wildavsky. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  7. Crossan, Mary, Henry Lane, and Roderick White. 1999. An Organizational Learning Framework: From Intuition to Institution. Academy of Management Review 24: 522–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Denters, Bas. 2011. Local Governance. In The Sage Handbook of Governance, ed. Marc Bevir. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  9. Denters, Bas, and Lawrence E. Rose. 2005. Towards Local Governance? In Comparing Local Governance. Trends and Developments, ed. Bas Denters and Lawrence E. Rose, 46–62. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Flyvbjerg, Bent. 2006. Making Organization Research Matter: Power, Values and Phronesis. In The Sage Handbook of Organization Studies, ed. Stewart R. Clegg, T.B. Lawrence, and W. Nord, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Forester, John. 2012. On the Theory and Practice of Critical Pragmatism: Deliberative Practice and Creative Negotiations. Planning Theory 12 (1): 5–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. ———. 2018. Deliberative Planning Practice—Without Smothering Invention: A Practical Aesthetic View. In The Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy, ed. Andre Bächtiger, J. Dryzek, J. Mansbridge, and M. Warren. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Frederickson, H. George. 2007. Governance, Governance Everywhere. In The Oxford Handbook of Public Management, ed. Ewan Ferlie, Laurence E. Lynn, and Christopher Pollitt, 282–301. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Funtowicz, S., and J. Ravetz. 1993. Science for the Post-normal Age. Futures 25 (7): 739–755.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hall, Peter. 1993. Policy Paradigms, Social Learning and the State: The Case of Economic Policymaking in Britain. Comparative Politics 25: 275–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jessop, Bob. 2011. Metagovernance. In The Sage Handbook of Governance, 106–123. London: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Klijn, Erik-Hans, Arwin Van Buuren, and Jurian Edelenbos. 2012. The Impact of Governance: A Normative and Empirical Discussion. In The Oxford Handbook of Governance, ed. David Levi-Faur, 294–310. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Kooiman, Jan. 1993. Governance and Governability: Using Complexity, Dynamics and Diversity. In Modern Governance: Authority, Steering, and Democracy, ed. Jan Kooiman, 35–48. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Lynn, Laurence E., Carolyn Heinrich, and Carolyn Hill. 2001. Improving Governance. A New Logic for Empirical Research. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
  20. March, J. 1991. Exploration and Exploitation in Organisational Learning. Organization Science 2: 71–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Morgan, D.F., and B.J. Cook, eds. 2014. New Public Governance: A Regime-Centered Perspective. New York: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  22. Osborne, Stephen. 2006. The New Public Governance? Public Management Review 8 (3): 377–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. ———. 2010. The New Public Governance? London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Peters, B. Guy. 1996. The Future of Governing: Four Emerging Models. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.Google Scholar
  25. Pielke, Roger Jr. 2007. The Honest Broker of Policy Alternatives: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rayner, S. 2003. Democracy in the Age of Assessment. Science and Public Policy 30 (3): 163–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sabel, Charles, and Jonathan Zietlin. 2008. Learning from Difference: The New Architecture of Experimentalist Governance in the EU. European Law Journal 14 (3): 271–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sandberg, Jörgen, and H. Tsoukas. 2011. Grasping the Logic of Practice: Theorizing Through Practical Rationality. Academy of Management Review 36 (2): 338–360.Google Scholar
  29. Schreyögg, Georg, Jörg Sydow, and Philip Holtmann. 2011. How History Matters in Organisations: The Case of Path Dependence. Management & Organizational History 6 (81): 81–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sørensen, Eva, and J. Torfing. 2015. Enhancing Public Innovation through Collaboration, Leadership and New Public Governance. In New Frontiers in Social Innovation Research, ed. A. Nicholls, Julie Simon, and M. Gabriel, 220–256. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  31. Stacey, Robert. 1993. Strategic Management and Organizational Dynamics. London: Prentice Hall/Financial Times.Google Scholar
  32. Torfing, Jacub, and P. Triantafillou. 2013. What’s in a Name? Grasping New Public Governance as a Political-Administrative System. International Review of Public Administration 18 (2): 9–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Torfing, Jacub, B. Guy Peters, Jon Pierre, and Eva Søernsen. 2012. Interactive Governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Verweij, M., and M. Thompson, eds. 2007. Clumsy Solutions for a Complex World. Governance, Politics and Plural Perceptions. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta Strumińska-Kutra
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Kozminski UniversityWarsawPoland
  2. 2.VID Specialized UniversityOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations