P35 SIG Complexity & network governance

Panel Chairs:
Elizabeth Eppel, Robyn Keast, Erik-Hans Klijn, Mary-Lee Rhodes and Joris Voets

Corresponding Chair:
Mary-Lee Rhodes, rhodesml@tcd.ie

In 2019, the IRSPM Board approved the establishment of a new Special Interest Group (SIG) on Complexity and Network Governance.  IRSPM 2020 marks the first ‘official’ meeting of the SIG and the conveners are delighted to welcome submissions from scholars and practitioners on any of the key themes / questions that the Special Interest Group hopes to address.  These are:

The Meta-governance question:

  • If governments increasingly want & need to tackle wicked issues in & use networks for service-delivery, how does meta-governance of these networks unfold in practice? We need to develop the concept & require more empirical study how this works (or not) in practice & why.

The Performance question:

  • If we are increasingly dealing with complexity and work through networks, how to measure results & performance? Some conceptual frameworks have been developed over the years, but we need to develop them further and add more empirical research to the conceptual work done so far.

The Leadership question:

  • While network management & managing complexities has been studied for some time now, leading to interesting insights and models, the perspective of leadership and the traits, skills & competencies of leaders is still relatively new. How can we identify & develop collaborative/network leadership? What can such leadership bring to the complexity table?

The Comparative question:

  • Many scholars address similar questions, but rarely from an international, comparative perspective.  Can we develop a comparative strategy to overcome surveys, QCA’s, case studies, etc. that are limited to particular countries, why (not) and how?

The Methodological question:

  • Various new research methods (like Qualitative Comparative Analysis, and Q sort) are emerging that offer avenues for network research and looking at the complex nature of networks and complex decision-making.  Papers addressing the development of complexity-friendly research methods are welcome.

The Practical question:

  • Dealing with complexity & networks is increasingly important for practitioners, but they more often than not remain outside the debates at conferences like IRSPM.  How do practitioners manage, evaluate, lead in this respect? Which tools & schemes have been devised so far and can we develop them (further)?

It is expected that the panel will run over several days of the conference, and we plan to have between 10 and 20 papers to allow for intensive discussion and development.  We also plan to reserve one session for a discussion on how we might organize other activities throughout the year and upcoming special issues and handbooks relevant to the theme(s) of the SIG.