New publication: The Emergence of Collaborations

A new publication about The Emergence of Collaborations written by me and Frank Boons has just appeared online. The article will appear in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.

In the article we apply Event Sequence Analysis to study two cases of collaborative governance in the context of sustainable industrial cluster development, where firms exchange by-products and share utilities to improve their environmental and economic performance. Our study demonstrates that in these cases the collaborative governance processes developed as assemblages of more or less independent projects that occurred before the start of collaboration. Actors in these projects already developed collaborative capacity before the formal start of collaboration, in the form of common ground and bridging actors. We also discuss how these antecedent projects influenced the course that the collaborative processes took. See the abstract of the article below. See the article here.

Abstract
In the literature on collaborative governance, it is often assumed that collaborative capacity (i.e., the ability of actors to coordinate their activities around public issues in a collaborative fashion) is primarily generated during the collaborative process itself. In this article, we show that collaborative capacity can already emerge before the start of collaborations, in the form of a common ground and the bridging position that some actors attain through their involvement in different projects that build up to the collaboration. We introduce a conceptual framework that captures these dimensions of collaborative capacity, and we present findings on two case studies to test several propositions, using an approach called event sequence analysis. We find that in both cases a common ground develops before the start of collaborations and influences the aims that are chosen during the collaborations themselves. We also find that actors that attain a bridging position before the collaboration play an important role in assembling building blocks for collaboration together. Our findings have relevance primarily for regional collaborations that involve large numbers of professional organizations.