Contexts, hybrids and network governance: a comparison of three case-studies in infrastructure governance

Document Type

Book chapter

Publication details

Koppenjan, J, Mandell, M, Keast, RL & Brown, KA 2010, 'Contexts, hybrids and network governance: a comparison of three case-studies in infrastructure governance', in T Brandsen & M Holzer (eds), The future of governance: selected papers from the Fifth Transatlantic Dialogue on Public Administration, National Center for Public Performance, Newark, NJ, pp. 301-325. ISBN: 9780942942217


While hybrid governance arrangements have been a major element of organisational architecture for some time, the contemporary operating environment has brought to the fore new conditions and expectations for the governance of entities that span conventional public sector departments, private firms and community organisations or groups. These conditions have resulted in a broader array of mixed governance configurations including Public Private Partnerships, alliances, and formal and informal collaborations. In some such arrangements, market based or ‘complete’ contractual relationships have been introduced to replace or supplement existing traditional ‘hierarchical’ and/or newer relational ‘network-oriented’ institutional associations. While there has been a greater reliance on collaborative or relational contracts as an underpinning institutional model, other modes of hierarchy and market may remain in operation. The success of these emergent hybrid forms has been mixed. There are examples of hybrids that have been well adopted, achieving the desired goals of efficiency, effectiveness and financial accountability; while others have experienced implementation problems which have undermined their results. This paper postulates that the cultural and institutional context within which hybrids operate may contribute to the implementation processes employed and the level of success attained. The paper explores hybrid arrangements through three cases of the use of inter-organisational arrangements in three different national contexts. Distilling the various elements of hybrids and the impact of institutional context will provide important insights for those charged with the responsibility for the formation and key infrastructure and public value development.