Postprint of: Brown, KA & Keast, RL 2003, 'Citizen-government engagement: community connection: community connection through networked arrangements', Asian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 107-132.
Changes in the social, political and economic make-up of contemporary society have resulted in greater emphasis on competition, entrepreneurship, individualisation and fragmentation but, at the same time, there has been growing calls by the community for improved connection between government and citizens, and greater integration and cooperation. Since governments cannot afford to tolerate excessive levels of tension between constituents and other stakeholders, and the previous systems of integration on their own are no longer sufficient, there is a need for new processes and mechanisms of connection. Universally, networked forms based on horizontal integration principles have been presented as the new mode for social connection. Despite their apparent simplicity, networked arrangements offer a wide array of options, structures and potential outcomes. This paper explores and analyses the emerging need to customise these linkages between governments and community to optimise inherent benefits of these modes of working. It is proposed that in this context, new ways of working together require specialised mixing, matching and managing of networked arrangements between government and citizens.