The impacts of policy change on collaborative governance networks

Margerum, Richard, Vella, Karen, Eberhard, Rachel, & Mayere, Severine (2015) The impacts of policy change on collaborative governance networks. In 55th Annual ACSP Conference. Justice and the City: (re)Examining the Past to Create the Future, 22-25 October 2015, Houston, TX. (Unpublished)


For many complex natural resources problems, planning and management efforts involve groups of organizations working collaboratively through networks (Agranoff, 2007; Booher & Innes, 2010). These networks sometimes involve formal roles and relationships, but often include informal elements (Edelenbos & Klijn, 2007). All of these roles and relationships undergo change in response to changes in personnel, priorities and policy. There has been considerable focus in the planning and public policy literature on describing and characterizing these networks (Mandell & Keast, 2008; Provan & Kenis, 2007). However, there has been far less research assessing how networks change and adjust in response to policy and political change. In the Australian state of Queensland, Natural Resource Management (NRM) organizations were created as lead organizations to address land and water management issues on a regional basis with Commonwealth funding and state support. In 2012, a change in state government signaled a dramatic change in policy that resulted in a significant reduction of state support and commitment. In response to this change, NRM organizations have had to adapt their networks and relationships. In this study, we examine the issues of network relationships, capacity and changing relationships over time using written surveys and focus groups with NRM CEOs, managers and planners (note: data collection events scheduled for March and April 2015). The research team will meet with each of these three groups separately, conduct an in-person survey followed by a facilitated focus group discussion. The NRM participant focus groups will also be subdivided by region, which correlates with capacity (inland/low capacity; coastal/high capacity). The findings focus on how changes in state government commitment have affected NRM networks and their relationships with state agencies. We also examine how these changes vary according to the level within the organization and the capacity of the organization. We hypothesize that:

(1) NRM organizations have struggled to maintain capacity in the wake of state agency withdrawal of support;

(2) NRM organizations with the lowest capacity have been most adversely affected, while some high capacity NRM organizations may have become more resilient as they have sought out other partners;

(3) Network relationships at the highest levels of the organization have been affected the most by state policy change;

(4) NRM relationships at the lowest levels of the organizations have changed the least, as formal relationships are replaced by informal networks and relationships.

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ID Code: 90961
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: collaborative governance, policy change, Natural resources, planning and management, Queensland
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500) > Land Use and Environmental Planning (120504)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2015 01:48
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2016 04:49

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