Managing Networks as Learning Organizations in the Public Sector
Stephenson Jr., Max O.
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This paper addresses the increasing use of network forms of governance and the challenges would-be network managers confront, including the persistent need network structures create to secure a modicum of internal goal alignment among participating members, the difficulty of establishing and maintaining trust among collaborating organizational representatives, and the problematic of ensuring alignment of internal and external accountability claims in inter-organizational and often multi-sectoral collaboratives. The paper reviews the literature and discusses the significance of communication management within network arrangements, including the role of technology for effective communication and subsequent coordination efforts. It concludes by arguing that networks are de facto distributed environments and working across them requires developing learning strategies to enhance member capacities to work collaboratively to address common concerns.