Postprint of: Keast, RL, Mandell, M & Brown, KA 2006, 'Mixing state, market and network governance modes: the role of government in "crowded" policy domains', International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 27-50.
The three governance modes of state, market and network have long been recognized as key forms of social organization. However, the failure of these modes to solve complex public problems has meant that new hybrid arrangements drawing on and mixing the strengths of each mode have come to the fore. This situation results in what is contended to be a "crowded" policy domain which may erode the potential for positive service delivery and programme outcomes. This paper argues that policy and decision-makers need to recognize the difference between these modes and select optimal mixes. The paper proceeds by tracing the evolution of the expanded mix. It sets out a coherent framework to aid decision-making and explores the challenges faced by governments in balancing the structural and operational mechanisms necessary to sustain the engagement of such a diverse set of players.