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 The review unearthed that there are conflicting views such as post modernists who argue the extent of how outdated the implementation perspective and implementation of public policy is itself due to the influence of informal networks suppressing the power of the state. On the other hand, other scholars argue that implementation is not a completely outdated matter, as governments still play a crucial steering role.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


Bekkers, V. (2007). Governance and the Democratic Deficit: Introduction. In V. Bekkers, G. Dijkstra, A. Edwards & M. Fenger (Eds.), Governance and the Democratic Deficit: Assessing the Democratic Legitimacy of Governance Practices (pp. 3-11). UK: Routledge.

Benz, A., & Papadopoulos, Y. (2006). Governance and Democracy: Concepts and Issues. In A. Benz and Y. Papadopoulos (Eds.), Governance and Democracy: Comparing national, European and International Experiences (pp. 1-26). London: Routledge.

Bogason, P., & Zolner, M. (2007). Methods for Network Governance Research: an Introduction. In P. Bogason (Ed.), Methods in Democratic Network Governance (pp. 1-20). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Bovaird, T. (2005). Public Governance: Balancing Stakeholder Power in a Network Society. International Review of Administrative Science, 71(2), 217-228.

Fenger, M., & Bekkers, V. (2006). The Governance Concept in Public Administration. In V. Bekkers, G. Dijkstra, A. Edwards, & M. Fenger. (Eds.), Governance and the Democratic Deficit: Assessing the Democratic Legitimacy of Governance Practices (pp. 13-33). UK: Routledge.

Hajer, M. A. (2009). Authoritative Governance: Policy Making in the Age of Mediatization. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Hill, M., & Hupe, P. (2009). Implementing Public Policy (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publication.

Howlett, M., Ramesh, M., & Perl, A. (2009). Studying Public Policy: Policy Cycles and Policy Subsystems (3rd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Kooiman, J. (2003). Governing as Governance. London: Sage Publication.

Lundqvist, L. J. (2001). Implementation From Above: The Ecology of Power in Sweden’s Environmental Governance. International Journal of Policy and Administration, 14(3), 319-337.

Pierre, J. (2000). Introduction: Understanding Governance. In J. Pierre (Ed.), Debating Governance: Authority, Steering and Democracy (pp 1-10.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Rhodes, R. A. W. (1996). The New Governance: Governing Without Government. Political Studies, XLIV, 652-667.

Roberts, P. (2009). Models of Network Governance for Technology and Security and Implications for leadership for Energetics. Blacksburg, VA: Center for Public Administration and Policy School of Public and International Affairs. Virginia Tech. Retrieved from http://filebox.vt.edu/users/robertsp/CPAPreport_final041409.pdf.

Sorensen, E., & Torfing, J. (2007). Introduction Governance Network Research: Towards a second Generation. In E. Sorensen & J. Torfing (Eds.), Theories of Democratic Network Governance (pp. 1-21 ). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Torfing, J. (2007). Introduction: Democratic Network governance. In M. Marcussen (Ed.), Democratic Network Governance in Europe (pp. 1-22). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.



► New issue coming soon! (Volume 13 Issue 1, 2024)

Call for Papers

UNIBULLETIN is calling for submissions. Authors are invited to submit papers from the all fields of the Education (General) and Social Sciences (General) in the international context. All submissions should be presented only in English.