Empirical Findings: Seven Network Stories

  • Jacob Torfing


Empirical studies of policy networks undertaken during the 1980s and early 1990s primarily focused on the impact of various patterns of network interaction in the formulation and implementation of policy within a range of different policy areas (Marin and Mayntz 1991; Marsh and Rhodes 1992). The implicit goals of such studies were to reveal that policy networks provided a viable alternative to traditional forms of governance through hierarchy or markets and that the institutional forms of governance networks had a decisive impact on the effectiveness of public policy and governance. With the widespread proliferation of governance networks, the demonstration of the effectiveness of various types of networks is no longer at the top of the agenda. New and important questions have come to the fore. Hence, a new, second generation of governance network research aims to address crucial questions about the sources of governance failure and the conditions for success; the attempts at influencing the functioning and performance of governance networks through various forms of metagovernance; and, last but not least, the democratic anchorage of governance networks and the possible trade-off between effectiveness and democracy. Comparative studies of the negotiated interaction among policy actors within different governance networks are important when attempting to answer these questions, since the goal is to uncover the different conditions and processes shaping the functioning, regulation and performance of governance networks.


Social Partner Employment Policy Special Committee Governance Network Civil Society Actor 
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© Jacob Torfing 2007

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  • Jacob Torfing

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