Managerial networking, managing the environment, and programme performance: a summary of findings and an agenda Chapter uri icon


  • © Cambridge University Press 2010. Introduction The public management of networks and managerial efforts to interact with the interdependent environments surrounding public organizations are frequent themes in the current governance literature (for extensive documentation see Rainey 2003; see also Provan and Kenis 2008). Organizations, of course, are open systems and must either adapt to environmental pressures or seek to alter the environment (Thompson 1967; Pfeffer and Salancik 1978). Interactions with the environment and attempts to manage them almost inevitably involve networks of other actors outside the control of the manager (Agranoff and McGuire 2001). By networks we mean 'structures of interdependence involving multiple organizations, where one unit is not just the formal subunit or subordinate of the other in some larger hierarchical arrangement' (O'Toole 1997b: 117). At times networks arise out of formal government mandates (Hall and O'Toole 2000); at other times they are created to help solve implementation problems (O'Toole 1997b; Blair 2002); they can also arise from self-organized efforts at collaboration (Bardach 1998; Mandell 2001; O'Leary 2008); and sometimes the stimuli may be multiple. In contemporary public policy, the management of -networks and of the interdependent environment is perceived to be crucial to programme success. Fully analysing such patterns of interdependence involves estimating the impact of networks as structures and also determining the influence of the networking in which managers engage (Walker et al. 2007). In this chapter we focus on the latter issue (for an explanation of its importance see Rhodes 2002). Studies exploring the networking of public managers consider managerial efforts to shape the actions of an entire network or the externally oriented, networking behaviour of managers as they operate outside their own organization but within their interdependent environment. Kickert and Koppenjan (1997) sketch various strategies for 'network management', whereas Agranoff and McGuire (2003) outline a set of managerial functions in networked settings.

author list (cited authors)

  • Meier, K. J., & O’Toole, L. J.

citation count

  • 2

Book Title

  • Public Management and Performance

publication date

  • January 2010