From Austerity to Abundance?: Volume 6

Cover of From Austerity to Abundance?

Creative Approaches to Coordinating the Common Good


Table of contents

(12 chapters)


Pages i-xiii
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Pages 1-6
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Public administration has struggled to develop effective practices for fostering just and sustainable responses to social, economic, and environmental crises. In this chapter, we argue that radically democratic social movements demonstrate the potential the ideal-type of Integrative Governance holds for achieving the collaborative advantage that has remained elusive to those who study and utilize traditional governance networks. Drawing from myriad studies of social movements, we demonstrate how particular social movements prefigure the philosophy and practices of this approach. Herein we focus on movements’ ethical stance of Stewardship, politics of Radical Democracy, epistemological use of Integral Knowing, and administrative practice of Facilitative Coordination, emphasizing how they use information communication technology and one-to-one organizing tactics. These practices enable social movements to integrate across the domains of sustainability and translate radically democratic modes of association from micro- to macro-scale. Thus, they shift attention from network structures, the main focus of the governance literature, to power dynamics. These movements constitute an interconnected global phenomenon, fostering solidarity across difference and prefiguring a transformation of the global political economy. Therefore, they are nascent exemplars of Integrative Governance, a more just and effective approach to global governance.


This chapter explores the challenges presented to public organizations by neoliberal thinking and the acceptance of the neoliberal capitalist agenda. Demonstrably, severe economic, political, and social dislocations are the result. Nevertheless, neoliberal influence remains and intensifies. We argue that this counterintuitive result is not grounded in either instrumental or theoretical merit but in the creation and dissemination of certain identifiable memes. The chapter proceeds with a critical examination of current neoliberal memes, an appraisal of their impact on government, society and economics, and the derivation of alternative memes from a Smithian perspective on political economy. Based on this critique and the derived memes, the chapter offers suggestions for a pragmatic cultural and administrative praxis that promise not only to moderate the influence of neoliberal memes and to mitigate tendencies for the propagation of new disadvantageous memeplexes, but also to avert the problems associated with the traditional distrust of government agencies and their top-down, disengaged, technical, and expert-driven solutions.


This book chapter uses structuration theory and aims to study cross-sectoral collaborations for co-creating public value and their implications in terms of the role and the relationships of the public sector with the private and third sector.

Our research is exploratory and our main research question is: What are the modalities of structuration of cross-sectoral collaborations for co-creating public value? Our analysis is based on a multiple case study analyses conducted in the region of Trentino – South Tyrol (Italy), and it draws on primary and secondary data collected through six extensive semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis on about fifty organizations participating in six cross-sectoral collaborations. We found that the co-creation of public value led public organizations to structure cross-sectoral collaborations involving private and third-sector organizations, but preexistent structures of signification, domination, and legitimation hampered the public sector as a whole to fully democratically meta-govern the modalities of structuration.

The chapter provides insights for practice by highlighting the elements of structuration theory as a useful framework of analysis for decision-making of public managers involved in cross-sectoral collaborations. Research implications deal with using structuration theory and critical approaches at a macrolevel (e.g., the role of the public sector as a whole) within public management studies.


Information communication technologies can serve as a crucial missing link toward tacking wicked problems of social welfare policy implementation through collaborative governance. Using a mixed methods approach, a pre- and postanalyses were used to investigate whether and how cell phones can increase awareness of pregnant women about different cash and service benefits of maternal health benefit policies of 82 pregnant women in a remote tribal community in Melghat forest of Maharashtra, India. Pregnant women received customized prerecorded bilingual audio calls on their mobile phones about maternal health benefit policies. The author then traced whether those audio messages increased the claiming of policy benefits and public engagement. The key contribution of this research is that contrary to the optimism about digital governance, findings suggest that cell phones are not a “silver bullet” for increasing receipt of maternal health benefits. This book chapter concludes with the prescription that the impact of mobile phones and other information technologies will be marginal as long as there are administrative deficiencies in policy implementation and a misalignment in state and federal policy designs.


Governance network managers are charged with triggering and sustaining collaborative dynamics, but often struggle to do so because they come from and interact with hierarchical and competitive organizations and systems. Thus, an important step toward effectively managing governance networks is to clarify collaborative dynamics. While the recently proposed collaborative governance regime (CGR) model provides a good start, it lacks both the conceptual clarity and parsimony needed in a useful analytical tool. This theoretical chapter uses the logic model framework to assess and reorganize the CGR model and then amends it using Follett’s theory of integrative process to provide a parsimonious understanding of collaborative dynamics, as opposed to authoritative coordination or negotiated cooperation. Uniquely, Follett draws from political and organizational theory practically grounded in the study of civic and business groups to frame the manner in which integrative process permeates collaboration. We argue that the disposition, style of relating, and mode of association in her integrative method foster collaborative dynamics while avoiding the counterproductive characteristics of hierarchy and competition. We develop an alternative logic model for studying collaborative dynamics that clarifies and defines these dynamics for future operationalization and empirical study.


This work aims to identify the characteristics of the coproduction of the common good, or public services, from the models of public administration found in projects awarded by the United Nations, specifically in the 2014 United Nations Public Service Award (UNPSA) category of “encouraging participation in public policy decisions through innovative mechanisms.” This multicase documentary analysis uses a typology of coproduction adapted from Salm and Menegasso (2010), which integrates several typologies of public participation. The revised typology includes five models of coproduction – community-led coproduction, state-led coproduction, self-interested coproduction, symbolic coproduction, and manipulative coproduction. The typology is used in the analysis of two United Nations award-winning projects in 2014: a community participation project for the effective management of malaria at Tha Song Yang in Thailand and the Intercouncil Forum in Brazil. This first case displays a preponderance of the self-interested coproduction ideal type, due to its focus on efficiency and delivery effectiveness of the service. The second case displays a preponderance of the symbolic coproduction ideal type due to its use of consultation practices to give the impression that there is direct participation in the decision-making, without substantive effect on the outcomes. Based on this analysis, recommendations are made for revising the criteria used by the UNPSA to ensure that projects with similar participation to those in the state-led and community-led coproduction models are awarded in the future.


With confidence in the British Political system in decline, it is more important than ever that the top-down approach to decision-making and service strategy in public services is challenged. In this chapter, we examine how coproduction of services can be achieved using Get Talking, an approach to participatory action research that utilizes creative consultation techniques to engage with publics. We explain how the approach enabled Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to involve young people in the development of a Children and Young People’s Strategy. The case study approach, building on qualitative methods including focus groups and semi-structured interviews, demonstrates how creative approaches were used by public sector staff to engage young people and partners in strategy development. Creative consultation techniques were used to facilitate the focus group activity. While using Get Talking as an approach to policy development required a resource investment in terms of staff time, it provided SFRS with insight into the needs of service users. This resulted in a more relevant strategy being developed and a cultural shift in how the organization works with young people. Engagement with the Get Talking process had a positive effect on staff, providing them with a sense of ownership over the resulting strategy, enhanced the reputation of SFRS with partners, and improved relationships with young people through demonstrating that they were valued partners in coproduction. While the approach was well received by all parties, challenges of using Get Talking in a public service setting resulted in pragmatic adaptations to a traditional PAR approach.


In this chapter, we analyze the interactions between local governments and citizens’ initiatives. In the Netherlands, local governments take up the role of civic enabler based on a modest approach that leaves citizens room to invent and design initiatives on what they deem to be public issues by facilitating and activating their efforts. We focus on how a proactive form of this approach toward citizens’ initiatives in deprived neighborhoods affects citizen–government relations. Our research is based on a case study in the city of Amsterdam. We find that particularly more women and migrants took up a wide variety of initiatives, which suggests that the neighborhood approach is more inclusive than deliberative approaches. We also find that initiators developed a positive attitude toward public institutions that enable them and that they started to see frontline workers as collaborators in their initiatives with whom they could have personal and authentic interactions, as opposed to the cool bureaucratic response from government officials that they were used to. To close the chapter, we discuss some risks of the proactive enabling approach, we compare our findings to problems that citizens’ initiatives often face during their interactions with local institutional actors in the Netherlands found in other literature, and we briefly discuss possible implications of practicing a modest enabling approach for developments in governance.


Neighborhood governance has become a widespread approach to improving the quality of life in cities. The idea is that sustained interactions between public professionals and residents will better meet the needs of local areas and people. However, neighborhood working approaches purporting to provide tailor-made policies and solutions tend to perpetuate habitual practices and hegemonic institutions of hierarchy and competition. This chapter enquires how conditions can be created for different kinds of conversations and relationships to emerge that lead to innovative practices and sustainable change. I argue that public professionals need not only interact extensively with residents but should also engage in encounters with an open mind. Empirically illustrated with an innovative approach to neighborhood working in Amsterdam (the Netherlands), I explain how they can go beyond habitual practices by letting new shared views and actions emerge in-between them. Doing so fosters deeper institutional transformations toward a relational grounding for urban governance and public administration.


Pages 201-206
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Cover of From Austerity to Abundance?
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Book series
Critical Perspectives on International Public Sector Management
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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