The purpose of this paper is to focus on Public Safety Networks (PSNs) created and used in the USA at the state level. Empirical analysis describes the formation and use of extant state‐level PSNs, based upon factors representing rational choice and institutional theories.
Contextual data representing 160 different characteristics and descriptors of state‐level attributes produces two factors that evidence an underlying structure consistent with rational choice and institutional theories. Using these factors as predictors, the authors employ multiple regression analysis to explain differences in size and maturity among state public‐safety collaborations. The size and maturity indicators come from extensive survey data collected in phone interviews with senior personnel at 80 PSNs.
Consistent with rational choice theory, higher needs and resources predict larger PSN size. Contrary to expectations, institutionalization rather than a culture of innovation is associated with PSN maturity, and suggests that maturity brings positive benefits, such as more experience, better operational routines and increased organizational competence.
This study moves beyond the usual case study approach to empirically investigate theoretical explanations for state‐level collaboration characteristics.
The authors' research investigates the social and environmental backdrop against which PSNs are implemented, to improve understanding of the state‐specific settings in which PSNs currently reside and develop. Given the financial and human resources involved in PSN creation and implementation, their initiators would benefit from a better understanding of governmental settings linked to PSN success. Identification of potential success or risk factors advances understanding of the underlying dynamics of interagency collaboration efforts.
Williams, C. and Fedorowicz, J. (2012), "Rational choice and institutional factors underpinning state‐level interagency collaboration initiatives", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 13-26. https://doi.org/10.1108/17506161211214796Download as .RIS
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