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 arena different interests and values are coordinated in order to solve complex problems. In Norwegian city regions this is especially visible within development policy. In this policy arena, city centers and surrounding municipalities are working together and both public and private stakeholders are involved. In this thesis this is referred to as governing through networks, or network governance. The development of governance networks as frame for policy development raises principal questions related to whether this is a wanted development regarding efficient and democratic governance. Case studies of three city-regional cases from Tromsø, Stavanger, and Bergen are studied along three main dimensions; coordination, democratic accountability, and institutionalization. The main question under investigation is what significance development of a governance network can have for effective and democratic governance. The balance lies in the relation between creating better and more efficient collaborative solutions and at the same time securing acceptance and legitimacy based on democratic norms. Such an approach provides important arguments related to the future role of governance networks as a coordination mechanism, a tool for governance, and as a policy arena. The main goal with this dissertation is to develop a better understanding of how governance networks are organized and how this affects network processes and the overall influence in Norwegian city regional development policy. Three research questions are posed and discussed through three articles. Through these articles a basis for a comprehensive analysis is laid. The first article focuses on coordination of different interests and how this is played out within the frames of governance networks. The article points at the significant role of the operative manager working in between interests by creating room for balancing efficient and democratic performance. Adaptation and structural conditions given by public authorities affect how this role is played out. The second article addresses the challenge of creating democratic accountable governance networks. The article utilizes an extended notion of democratic accountability, and argues that governance networks involved in policy processes have to take their role as democratic accountable actors seriously. In order to inspire confidence between governance networks and regional society, inclusion through metagovernance is not alone a sufficient solution. Transparency (openness, predictability, and clarity in roles) and control (open arenas and responsiveness) are also essential for a governance network to be perceived as democratic accountable. The third article discovers how governance networks can develop from loose links toward an integrated and stable arena with clear purposes and functions. Essential conditions for such development are maturation over time and legitimacy. It is argued that a governance network consolidates its role in the city-region by having a clear function as coordinator and as an arena for regional development policy. This role is evaluated continually and depends on governance 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 three articles in both the empirical and theoretical sense is assessed, and the main research question is discussed. Perspectives on network governance are used in order to identify and describe network processes in the three studied cases. Institutional perspectives are used in order to understand and explain variation in observations of organization and process (coordination, democratic accountability, and institutionalization) and further how it affects effective and democratic governance. The results of the overall analysis (based on the three articles) can be summarized along empirical, theoretical, and normative purposes and contribution. Empirically, the analysis contributes to increased insight in how governance networks, based on different organizational forms and purposes, develop in city regional contexts. The study illustrates how these variations affect the network process and outcome. The way of organizing, making strategies, and producing results determined whether their environment accepts the governance network. The internal process between network members is closely coupled to the environment. Because of this link, the borderline between “within” and “outside” the network is blurred. This further affects the possibility for the governance network to strengthen and develop further. Theoretically, the analysis contributes to combine network approaches with institutional perspectives, proving that mechanisms in network governance cannot be explained by ‘one’ logic. Establishment of governance networks is based on a functional reason where actors join in with different motives and goals. At this point different values and logics meet. The institutional framework also illustrates how governance networks are flexible and dynamic, and organizations or institutions are not. Networks have to work and adjust to the environment continually. They have few stable administrative capacities to meet demands related to involvement, transparency, reporting, and documentation compared to democratic institutions. This institutional picture supports the argument for a post-liberal understanding of democracy, replacing the traditional representative democratic norm. This brings me to the normative purpose and contribution. Normatively, the thesis argues for governance networks as useful arenas and governance tools in policy processes crossing geographical and institutional borders. A critical point is how these processes are handled today. The thesis illustrates that establishment of governance networks is not a “one-time activity”, but demands continual evaluation and a sharp and active relation between public authorities and the members of the governance network. It demands flexible follow-up where the balance between control and guidance do not pressure the dynamics between the members of the governance network. Predictability for all parties and operative management is in this respect essential. Efficient network governance within acceptable democratic norms is therefore not a responsibility governance networks carry alone. It is also a responsibility of public authorities in order to make sure that the governance networks 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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