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A quick note regarding a new blog on network analysis, co-sponsored by the
Program on Networked Governance and the Institute for Quantitative Social
Science at Harvard. The blog is available at:
Supporting materials (papers, powerpoints, podcasts, video) are available
The objective of the blog is to serve as a forum for discussion regarding
the families of theories and methodologies that make up social network
analysis and complexity theory.
Its initial entry is:
There is a recent and increasing literature on networks and government that
makes a strong case that much of what government does actually involves a
complex interlocking of government (and nongovernment) actors. A key
question, as ideas around “networked government” are explored, is how to
draw on the rich research vein on inter-organizational networks that
currently exists, most/much of which focuses on the intersection of
networks and markets (economic sociology)? In short, in what ways are
intergovernmental networks different, in what ways are they the same? A few
differences to begin with:
(1) Governmental entities often have a monopoly over their domain. Much of
the economic sociology literature effectively relies on exit (the market)
to make the network (pre-existing ties) powerful—I cease to do business
with you because you behaved badly with me (relational embeddedness) or
someone else I know (structural embeddedness).
(2) There is less flexibility to organizational boundaries—e.g., given high
levels of interdependence and potential opportunism, in the market one firm
can merge with another, which is often impossible in the governmental
(3) There are often limits on exchange—e.g., often it is not possible for
one agency to pay another to help it achieve its policy objectives.
Please feel free to visit and comment.
Associate Professor of Public Policy
Program on Networked Governance
Kennedy School of Government
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