Theory of Collaborative Governance and Network
In general, governance can be defined as ‘the attempts of the state, and its allies in the private sectors, to steer the economy and society’ (Peters 2013, p. 78). Governance may involve activities that utilize resources and create more consistent and coordinated policies (Peters 2013) through interaction among actors despite their conflicting objectives (Duit et al. 2010).
Concepts of collaborative governance are mainly influenced by policy network theory (Enroth 2013), institutional theory (Ostrom 1990, 2005; Peters 2013), organizational theory (Williamson 1995; Christensen 2013), and the economics of transaction costs as well as rational choice theory (Williamson and Masten 1999; Dowding 2013). From institutional perspectives, the new governance approach is based on the assumption that ‘the conventional institutions of government are no longer capable of providing effective steering on their own and must be supplemented, or supplanted, by social actors’ (Peters 2013, p. 78). In short, collaborative governance emphasizes the inter-organizational arrangements across the boundaries (such as public agencies, level of government, and/or public/private/NGOs/CSOs) that are ‘involved in working relationships with each other in the pursuance of common purpose’ (Huxham et al. 2000, p. 341). Huxham et al. (2000) argued that this new concept of governance emerged in anticipation of the challenges of ‘complexity and diversity’. Meanwhile, Frederickson and Smith pointed to the fact that ‘... governments have become less hierarchical’ (2003, as cited in Silvia 2011, p. 66). There is a tendency to form collaborative networks to govern since the boundaries of responsibility, authority and activity across levels of governments have become blurred (Silvia 2011). By definition, a (social) network refers to ‘.ties and networks (that) constrain resource flow by keeping it within ties and networks’ (Jiang and Carroll 2009, p. 52). Resources in this case could be in the form of information, economic, intellectual or emotional resources (Moody and Paxton 2009). The collaborative network environment can be complicated due to the differing objectives each network’s member has for the outcome of their combined effort. Therefore, it is essential in collaborative governance to ensure agreement regarding the network’s target and strategy. Another critical foundation is to establish a clear playing field in the form of roles, norms, regulations and legitimacy among the network members
(Silvia 2011). At the following part, our analysis will focus on regulatory framework and institutional network, as refered in the handbook of governance, ‘at the most general level, governance refers to theories and issues of social coordination and the nature of all patterns of rule’ (Bevir 2013).