Local Actors in Mandated Governance Networks: A case study of EU’s LEADER program in Cantabria, Spain
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- Master theses 
This case study examines the role of local actors in the design of a mandated network (which is a collaborative arrangement instigated by some external third party) and how their choices affect subsequent network dynamics. The analysis focuses on two such networks: Saja Nansa and Ason Aguera Trasmiera in the Spanish Autonomous Community of Cantabria. These had similar contextual conditions at the onset, but different dynamics when exposed to the same mandate (EU´s LEADER program). Mandated networks generally leave ample room for local variation within the imposed constraints, which draws immediate attention to the dynamics and role of local actors in the establishment of a specific configuration. Building on previous research, this study relies on two theoretical frameworks: mandated network formation and organization theory. Consistent with insights from instrumental approaches of organization theory, it found four mechanisms at play affecting internal dynamics: Membership, Structure, Leadership and Location. Membership refers to both actors’ attributes and the ability to restrict or promote access to deci-sion-making processes to other actors. Structure denotes the formal organizational framework which defines decision-making bodies, processes and goals, and the ability to shape and frame decisions. Leadership includes both individual and institutional capacity to generate and facilitate decisions within the network. And Location focuses on the relationship between the network´s physical space and how it relates to networks members in terms of participation and access to decision-making bodies.