Volume 8 Issue 2 (2019)

Implications of Network Governance for an Implementation Perspective on Public Policy

pp. 106-116  |  Published Online: December 2019  |  DOI: 10.22521/unibulletin.2019.82.1

Ermyas Admasu Wolde


There has been inevitable dynamic change taking place in societies characterized as “network governance,” raising discourse on the continuity of the mainstream top-down and bottom-up policy implementation perspectives. The network governance approach challenges the commonly accepted mainstream views regarding policy implementation for being hierarchical and restricted to the organizational structure of the state, while currently the interaction, interdependence and negotiation of a complex set of actors is prevalent and just as important as the formal structures. This paper, therefore, is a thorough review of the existing body of literature to assess how the new “governance paradigm” labeled as “network governance” is influencing an implementation perspective on public policy. The review unearthed that there are conflicting views such as post modernists who argue the extent of how outdated the implementation perspective and implementation of public policy is itself due to the influence of informal networks suppressing the power of the state. On the other hand, other scholars argue that implementation is not a completely outdated matter, as governments still play a crucial steering role. It was found that the widening of the old perspectives was inevitable to the distinction of government from governance structures, from processes institutions, from behaviors and actors, and from activities. It should also bring about various actors and multi-locus and layered perspective, unlike the hierarchical mere government-focused perspective of the past. Therefore, the implementation perspective under the new governance heading covers a wide range of issues and variables, implying that the new “governance paradigm” and its governing networks altered the existed perspective on implementation, if not contributed to its demise.

Keywords: Governance, network governance, policy implementation, perspectives


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