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Keast, RL & Mandell, M 2009, 'The impact of institutional, instrumental and interpersonal underpinnings on network dynamics and outcomes', paper presented to 10th Public Management Research Conference, Columbus, Ohio, 1-3 October.


Networks form a key part of the infrastructure of contemporary governance arrangements and, as such, are likely to continue for some time. Networks can take many forms and be formed for many reasons. Some networks have been explicitly designed to generate a collective response to an issue; some arise from a top down perspective through mandate or coercion; while others rely more heavily on interpersonal relations and doing the right thing. In this paper, these three different perspectives are referred to as the “3I”s: Instrumental, Institutional or Interpersonal.

It is proposed that these underlying motivations will affect the process dynamics within the different types of networks in different ways and therefore influence the type of outcomes achieved. This proposition is tested through a number of case studies. An understanding of these differences will lead to more effective design, management and clearer expectations of what can be achieved through networks.

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