The public sector may be considered as a highly fragmented and at the same time enormously interconnected system. Resources are dispersed among a huge variety of actors and entities and these affect each other in many unexpected ways. This book analyses the apparently paradoxical occurrence of simultaneous fragmentation and interconnectivity within the public domain and reflects on its consequences for public governance and management. It discusses and assesses strategies to create connective capacities from different policy domains and countries and offers new insights in the complexity of public governance.
About the Editors: Menno Fenger is associate professor in public administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam. He has published widely on issues of public governance and implementation, specifically in the area of social policies. Victor Bekkers is professor of public administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam and academic director of the Center for Public Innovation. He specializes in the impact of information and communication technology, including social media, on public governance. He is the author of numerous books and articles on this topic.
Modern societies are populated by an abundance of formal and informal organizations, representing a wide variety of interests and covering more or less segmented elements of societal activities, issues and tasks. At the same time, these actors are connected through a complex set of direct and indirect feedback loops. In short, modern societies may be labeled as simultaneously fragmented and interconnected. Due to these characteristics, modern societies sometimes even resemble the idea of organized anarchies. This can be traced back in the governance of many serious societal problems, like the fight against crime, the ageing of the population and the quality of our environment. All kinds of different organizations, with diverging interests, views and power resources, can be discerned, all dealing with these problems and challenges. One of these actors is government. But government itself is a highly fragmented and specialized actor as well. Therefore fragmentation is also an important feature of government, which significantly affects its governance capacity.
The research program of the Department of Public Administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam focuses specifically on the issues of fragmentation and connective capacities. The program is called ‘lost connections, linking capacities: on the effectiveness, legitimacy and self-organization of new forms of governance and public services’. Building upon this research program, this book addresses the challenges that a fragmented society and public sector provide. But attempts to overcome the fragmentation and interconnectivity can be seen as a major driver for innovation and modernization. Hence, we argue that many governance innovations try to overcome the barriers of fragmentation, differentiation, specialization and professionalization. In this book we do not only address the nature and backgrounds of fragmentation and interconnectivity, but we also assess attempts to create new forms of connective capacities. The central issue is how to establish connective governance capacities in order to address the needs and wishes of society in more effective and responsive way, without oversimplifying the complexity and ambiguity of these needs and wishes.
This book is the product of the successful connective capacities of various individuals. First, we would like to thank the authors who have provided us with their useful contributions, thus progressing our ideas on connective capacities and public governance. Moreover, we are indebted to René Karens who has taken care of the last- minute lay-out of the manuscript. Yneke, Karin and Lalita as ever were in control of all logistic processes that are necessary for the fragmented process of writing a book with many different authors from various countries. Finally, we are grateful to Arwin van Buuren who has contributed valuable ideas in the initial stage of this project.
This chapter starts by explaining the paradoxes, dilemmas and challenges that are connected with the simultaneous occurrence of fragmentation and interconnectivity. It then briefly introduces the backgrounds of fragmentation and interconnectivity in modern societies and describes how fragmentation and interconnectivity are manifested in the public domain. The key component of this contribution is the development of an analytical framework that enables us to develop a systematical perspective on possible solutions for the challenges of simultaneous fragmentation and interconnectivity in issues of public governance.
Ruth Prins, Lex Cachet, Paul Ponsaers, Gordon Hughes
19 - 43
During the last decades of the 20th century, crime rates rose rapidly and complex public safety problems evolved. New actors and organizations from public and private sectors have tried to help governments to satisfy an ever increasing need for public safety. This has resulted in a fragmented policy domain including multiple actors dealing with a wide variety of public safety problems. Consequently, an urgent need for interconnection has emerged. This has led to various mechanisms for coordination of actors, goals and accountability on both administrative and political levels. The chapter describes these seemingly contradictory trends of almost simultaneous fragmentation and interconnection in local public safety governance in the Netherlands, Belgium and England.
National models of integration represent state-centric views of integration policies that are anchored to perceptions of national identity and historically rooted views of the role of the state. This chapter draws attention to the difficulties in balancing interconnections in terms of a single and coherent national policy frame with the fragmentation found in terms of frame-conflicts and in discrepancies in the logic of policymaking between policy levels. It reveals how Dutch and French integration policies were characterized by a multiplicity of discourses as well as by a growing gap or ‘décalage’ between policies on the local and the national level.
Marion Ellison, Elisabeth Berg, Jim Barry, John Chandler
59 - 72
This chapter critically examines the implications of the recent reconfiguration of the role of the social service manager in Sweden and Britain. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with social service managers and social work practitioners the chapter focusses upon the dual relationship between fragmentation and interconnectedness within new public governance and management. Whilst locating the potential of connective capacities of new public governance within distinct political, economic and governance settings, the chapter also reveals the capacity of social work to engage actively with civil society and so respond rapidly to changing political and economic conditions at national and transnational level.
Arie van Sluis, Peter Marks, Fien Gilleir, Marleen Easton
73 - 94
In “Nodal security in the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp” the authors explore the differences and similarities between the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp in the way an integrated approach, the nodal approach of security, has been moulded. The authors clarify the concepts of the nodal orientation, of nodal strategies and of nodal security governance. They describe the way in which the key players in the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp (port authorities, customs and the police) have put these concepts into practice and the governance-like structures that have evolved out of their mutual cooperation.
Philip Marcel Karré, John Alford, Martijn van der Steen, Mark van Twist
97 - 113
The governments of Australia and the Netherlands have to deal with wicked problems, that cut across neat departmental boundaries and exceed the problem-solving capabilities of individual governmental institutions. In this chapter, we discuss how they dealt with two pressing problems (child abuse, immigration and integration) by adopting so-called joined-up or whole of government approaches to policy-making. These entail coming to new ways of organizing by decoupling traditional governmental structures. We explore how joined-up government works in practice, discuss its limitations and develop an agenda for further research.
Visual representations of events occur more often in our daily lives, more and more technologies have been developed to create and distribute these visual instances. The question we ask ourselves in this chapter is how these visual representations, or visual events, can account for greater connectivity in the policy process but also in the relation between citizens and government. In order to answer this question two cases will be reviewed in which a visual reconstruction has been made of a negative event. Conclusions will show that indeed visual events can account for greater connectivity but that this occurs under certain conditions.
Within the Dutch central government several initiatives have been taken to establish shared services centres (SSCs) in order to reduce the level of fragmentation. However, is the level of fragmentation decreased by establishing SSCs and was avoiding fragmentation the only motive of the initiators, or can we distinguish other motives as well? Based on two case studies, I concluded that at first sight the level of fragmentation is decreased by establishing SSCs. However, by establishing SSCs new problems concerning fragmentation could arise between the ministries and the SSCs. Moreover, avoiding fragmentation was not the only motive of the initiators; they also intended to enlarge their power in relation to other ministries.
Erik-Hans Klijn, Filip de Rynck, Chris Skelcher, Joris Voets
142 - 164
This chapter looks at two institutional arrangements that have been designed for the networks around developing the Ghent Kanaalzone in Belgium and the development of the expansion of the port of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. The analysis, focusing on legitimacy, consent and accountability as problems to be solved in networks, shows that that in both countries the arrangement examined created, out of necessity, new forms of legitimacy, accordance and accountability. Through continuous feedback with the institutions of representative democracy the network arrangements and decisions become embedded within the procedures of representative democracy.
This chapter sets out to assess the success of the strategies that has been presented in this chapter to deal with the challenges of simultaneous fragmentation and interconnectivity. It reconsiders the main findings of the chapters in this volume, but also tries to go beyond these empirical findings and sketch a number of options that can be followed when dealing with fragmentation. At the same time an assessment will be made of the strong and weak points of these options.
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