Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Keast, RL & Mandell, M 2009, 'Learning, language and leadership : conduits to dynamic public service networks', 13th International Research Society for Public Management Conference (IRSPM XIII), Copenhagen Business School, Fredericksberg, Denmark, 6-8 April, IRSPM.


Networks are having a profound impact on the way society is organised at the local, national and international level. Networks are not ‘business as usual’. The defining feature of networks and a key indicator for their success is the strength and quality of the interactions between members. This relational power of networks provides the mechanism to bring together previously dispersed and even competitive entities into a collective venture. Such an operating context demands the ability to work in a more horizontal, relational manner. In addition a social infrastructure must be formed that will support and encourage efforts to become more collaborative.

This paper seeks to understand how network members come to know about working in networks, how they work on their relationships and create new meanings about the nature of their linked work. In doing so, it proposes that learning, language and leadership, herein defined as the ‘3Ls’ represent critical mediating aspects for networks.

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