The Policy Governance Model: A critical examination

Hough, Alan D. (2002) The Policy Governance Model: A critical examination. [Working Paper]



By any measure, John Carver has had a substantial impact on thinking about governance in nonprofits. He has authored three books, 14 monographs and over 160 separate articles, as well as a regular newsletter, audiotapes and a videotape (Carver 2002, pp. xli-xlii). His first book Boards that make a difference was reprinted 10 times before going into its second edition. He has consulted in over 19 countries. He has trained over 150 consultants (including the author) and other nonprofit leaders in his advanced Academy workshop, some of whom went on to form the International Policy Governance Association. His influence in Canada in particular has been profound, with one report noting that many Canadian organisations had debated whether ‘to Carver, or not’ (Panel on accountability and governance in the voluntary sector 1998, p. 15). His work has inspired books by other authors (Oliver 1999; Walters & Richardson 1997).

Probably no other writer on governance has attracted so much publicity, or such controversy, as Carver. As Fletcher (1999, p. 437) notes, Carver’s approach has been ‘both lauded and demonized’.

After explaining the basic principles and structure of Policy Governance, this paper briefly summarises the advantages of the model. It then examines how poorly the model is understood by some of its critics. The paper then explores in detail the negative critiques of Carver’s writing on governance and of his Policy Governance model. Most of the critics are explicit in their comment on Carver’s work, although one or two critiques have been implied from the general management literature. It should be noted that some of the negative critiques contradict others. Conclusions in relation to practice and research are then drawn.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 12029
Item Type: Working Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: governance, policy, policy governance, John Carver, nonprofit, nonprofit governance
ISBN: 1864355816
ISSN: 1447-1213
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Business and Management not elsewhere classified (150399)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2002 QUT
Deposited On: 16 Jan 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2015 00:47

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