Letters From the Field: Case Studies of Exemplary Collaborative Managers

Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

These mini-case studies explore the practice of collaborative management within a variety of public sector settings, focusing on the meritorious roles played by public managers – how they performed well and why their actions mattered.

Articles include:
– Amy K. Donahue, “The Space Shuttle Columbia Recovery Operation: How Collaboration Enabled Disaster Response.”
– Mary Belefski, “Collaboration at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: An Interview with Two Senior Managers.”
– Kurt Thurmaier, “High-Intensity Interlocal Collaboration in Three Iowa Cities
– Heather Getha-Taylor, “Preparing Leaders for High-Stakes Collaborative Action: Darrell Darnell and the Department of Homeland Security.”
– Kim Eagle and Philip Cowherd, “Collaborative Capital Planning in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.”
– Tracy Yandle, “The Challenger Scallop Enhancement Company: Collaborative Management of a Natural Resource Based in the Private Sector.”
– Sharon Friedrichsen, “Collaborative Public Management in San Francisco.”
– Gerald Andrews Emison, “The EPA Bureaucrat Who Could.”
– David W. Sears and W. Robert Lovan. “Encouraging Collaboration in Rural America.”
– Brenda Bushouse, “West Virginia Collaboration for Creating Universal Prekindergarten.”
– Rob Alexander, “Kirk Emerson and the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution.”

Collaboration and Leadership for Effective Emergency Management

Source: William L. Waugh Jr. and Gregory Streib, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

Collaboration is a necessary foundation for dealing with both natural and technological hazards and disasters and the consequences of terrorism. This analysis describes the structure of the American emergency management system, the charts development of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and identifies conflicts arising from the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the attempt to impose a command and control system on a very collaborative organizational culture in a very collaborative sociopolitical and legal context. The importance of collaboration is stressed, and recommendations are offered on how to improve the amount and value of collaborative activities. New leadership strategies are recommended that derive their power from effective strategies and the transformational power of a compelling vision, rather than from hierarchy, rank, or standard operating procedures.

Incrementalism before the Storm: Network Performance for the Evacuation of New Orleans

Source: John J. Kiefer and Robert S. Montjoy, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

In this timely look at evacuation before, during and after Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in New Orleans, the authors trace the actions and interactions of the key players and highlight the strengths and weaknesses of their performance during the crisis. Though it was apparent that informal collaborative networks were necessary to deal with the disaster, this article suggests that they are never sufficient alone because networks, by definition, lack legal authority and diffuse public responsibility.

Hurricane Katrina revealed a lack of preparedness in disaster management networks covering the New Orleans area. This paper focuses on the operation of networks in preparing to evacuate residents in advance of a major disaster. There are two cases: the relatively successful evacuation of residents who left by private conveyance and the widely publicized failure to provide for those who could not or would not leave on their own. We trace the actions and inactions of various players to reach conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of networks in the special circumstances of disaster preparation.

What Do We Know and Need to Know About the Environmental Outcomes of Collaborative Management?

Source: Tomas M. Koontz and Craig W. Thomas, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

To what extent does collaborative management lead to improved environmental outcomes? Despite the academic excitement over collaborative management, the authors of this provocative article argue that the empirical evidence on existing practices does not match the desired outcome of a better environment. Although we know a great deal about the why, how, and what of collaborative management, it is no panacea. Rather, students of this subject should remain hard-headed realists and focus on whether actual environmental improvement results. Does real-world application of collaborative management processes achieve more or less than alternative managerial methods such as traditional top-down, command and control, or newer market-driven techniques?

Collaborative Public Management and Democracy: Evidence from Western Watershed Partnerships

Source: William D. Leach, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

Based on a random sample of empirical studies of 76 watershed partnerships in California and Washington, the author assesses the democratic merits of collaborative public management according to seven norms: inclusiveness, representativeness, impartiality, transparency, deliberativeness, lawfulness, and empowerment. The article stresses the pluses and minuses of each norm according to the actual practices discovered from an analysis of the working partnerships. Several insights and revealing patterns of collaborative relationships are drawn from this evidence.

Ways of Knowing and Inclusive Management Practices

Source: Martha S. Feldman, Anne M. Khademian, Helen Ingram, and Anne S. Schneider, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

How can public managers constructively intervene to engage stakeholders in new ways of knowing about and resolving the public issues they confront? This article offers important new perspectives on how policy issues can better be understood as fluid policy networks and how public managers in particular can facilitate the framing of such issues to improve public deliberations and achieve constructive policy results.

The authors engage structural and agentic perspectives to examine opportunities for deliberation and the purposeful role of managers in creating those opportunities. Drawing on actor-network theory as a way of understanding the process of structuring knowledge, this essay focuses on the continuous enactment and reenactment of networks of human and nonhuman actants and the associations that connect them. This thinking is applied to policy issues, which the authors propose should be understood as ways of knowing. The fluidity of such ways of knowing provides opportunities for public managers to use the inclusive practices associated with boundary experiences, boundary objects, and boundary organizations to facilitate deliberation.

Citizen-Centered Collaborative Public Management

Source: Terry L. Cooper, Thomas A. Bryer, and Jack W. Meek, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

This article begins with a brief history of civic engagement in the United States and the develops a conceptual model of five approaches to civic engagement based on how each one contributes to citizen-centered collaborative management and enhances civic-centered collaboration, The authors point out fruitful ways to advance empirical research on this crucial topic, which can assist practicing public managers and promote active citizenship among individuals.

Varieties of Participation in Complex Governance

Source: Archon Fung, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

What are the central challenges of governance through collaborative networks? The author outlines three crucial challenges: Who participates? How do participants communicate with one another? And do such links achieve successful public action? The article offers a useful framework for comprehending these three problems, concluding that citizens can be “the shock troops for democracy,” and their active involvement may in fact yield rich pragmatic benefits for self-government. An analytic approach that jettisons preconceptions about what participatory democracy is all about remains fundamental to realizing this goal.

The multifaceted challenges of contemporary governance demand a complex account of the ways in which those who are subject to laws and policies should participate in making them. This article develops a framework for understanding the range of institutional possibilities for public participation. Mechanisms of participation vary along three important dimensions: who participates, how participants communicate with one another and make decisions together, and how discussions are linked with policy or public action. These three dimensions constitute a space in which any particular mechanism of participation can be located. Different regions of this institutional design space are more and less suited to addressing important problems of democratic governance such as legitimacy, justice, and effective administration.

Inside Collaborative Networks: Ten Lessons for Public Managers

Source: Robert Agranoff, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

Based on extensive empirical research with federal, state and local government managers who work within intergovernmental collaborative networks, this article suggests new ways in which public agencies can overcome nettlesome policy conundrums while advancing the public interest. Although networks may differ significantly from organization to organization, the author emphasizes that the “era of networks” is a modern-day administrative reality that requires effective management, much like any other organizational structure.

This paper offers practical insights for public managers as they work within interorganizational networks. It is based on the author’s empirical study of 14 networks involving federal, state, and local government managers working with nongovernmental organizations. The findings suggest that networks are hardly crowding out the role of public agencies; though they are limited in their decision scope, they can add collaborative public value when approaching nettlesome policy and program problems.

The Design and Implementation of Cross-Sector Collaborations: Propositions from the

Source: John M. Bryson, Barbara C. Crosby, and Melissa Middleton Stone, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

This article addresses the problem of cross-sector collaboration, which the authors defines as the linking and sharing of organizational information resources, activities, and capabilities in order to achieve solutions that single agencies cannot. The authors not only explain why cross-sector collaboration is essential in dealing with pressing 21st-century policy dilemmas but also suggest a propositional inventory for reframing our understanding of these problems that is vital for an improved research agenda on cross-sector collaboration.

People who want to tackle tough social problems and achieve beneficial community outcomes are beginning to understand that multiple sectors of a democratic society—business, nonprofits and philanthropies, the media, the community, and government—must collaborate to deal effectively and humanely with the challenges. This article focuses on cross-sector collaboration that is required to remedy complex public problems. Based on an extensive review of the literature on collaboration, the article presents a propositional inventory organized around the initial conditions affecting collaboration formation, process, structural and governance components, constraints and contingencies, outcomes, and accountability issues.