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How a Governance Approach Empowers Regional Policy Making

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Mehmet Yesilbas
October 17, 2014

Globalization, in combination with technology utilization, provides for a burgeoning paradigm shift in public sector governance. As Kapucu emphasizes in his 2009 article, “Collaborative Public Management and Collaborative Governance: Conceptual Similarities and Differences,” communication and information technologies, data analysis and global academic cooperation have transformed the aspect of governance in this era. Innovative analytic performance and network management concepts are the new terminologies of governance literature. Some researchers, such as Halachmi and his study of “Governance and Risk Management: Challenges and Public Productivity,” claim that governance today exceeds the borders of the state and are the natural outcome of international policy and collaboration.

Sloat’s 2003 study, “The Preparation of the Governance White Paper,” postulates that governance became a slogan of the 1990s with the World Bank first using it in 1992 to specify principles for development support. With the advancement of the global village through the interconnectedness of people from all over the world, identifying potential risks should be addressed within the strategic plan for a governmental or non-governmental entity. A perspective on the process of globalization should realize a respective rise in sophisticated technologies, employment possibilities and financial incorporation.

In order to see the realities emerging, one might reference Agranoff and McGuire’s Collaborative Public Management: New Strategies for Local Governments. From their perspectives, three realities emerge:

  • Decentralization and the lessening role of central government service provision.
  • The use of economic development mechanisms.
  • Public leveraging of private resources.

According to Halachmi, the rise in the popularity of the governance approach is explained by an effective solution it provides to regional issues incorporating the private sector, nongovernmental organizations and a cross-section of government actors.

Yesilbas octRegional organizations, such as regional development agencies, are meant to distribute resources to regional stakeholders as well as provide a mechanism for measuring efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and productivity in government. Market-type mechanisms such as privatization and competitive tendering have been introduced in the public sector to achieve these objectives. In their 2002 study, “The Performance Paradox in the Public Sector,” Thiel and Leeuv dispute that several departmental units of government have been hived off into quasi-autonomous nongovernmental organizations and the private sector in developing countries. Thus, regional based development organizations are argued in the governance discipline as a significant factor in affecting decisions and procedures within the private, public and civic sectors.

Governance leads the process affecting decisions and procedures within the private, public and civic segments. According to Kapucu, governance is related to the consequences of the collaborations within a decentralized construction of governmental and nongovernmental components of the civil society under non-mandatory regulations. The four-shared characteristics of governance are listed as follows:

  1. Interdependence among institutes. The main difference of governance is that it not only covers government but also non-state actors.
  2. Ongoing communications amongst network partners. This is caused by the need to exchange resources and negotiate shared objectives.
  3. Game-like interactions. These connections are rooted in trust and structured by instructions of the game negotiated and agreed by network participants.
  4. A substantial degree of independence from the state. Networks are not accountable to the state; they are self-organizing.

Though the state does not occupy a privileged or sovereign position, it can indirectly and imperfectly steer networks, as Rhodes states in his 1996 study, “The New Governance: Governing Without Government.”

As emphasized in a previous PA TIMES article, “Regional Development Agencies: An Innovative Development Management Model in Turkey,” the proliferation of a democratic culture increased the importance of social welfare which led to the transformation of necessities and expectancies. As a natural consequence, new structures set forth to satisfy the collective local expectations have become so notable that regional development organizations became the pre-eminent institutions addressing their creation, implementation and operation.

Collaborative networks are described as purposive actions to create links to resolve problems by discovering or inventing resolutions within a given set of limitations including knowledge, time, resources and competition. Collaborative development networks appear in multi-managerial structures to resolve problems that cannot be easily solved by single organizations. Participation in collaborative networks is not restricted to government constituents. Multiple participants within and across jurisdictions have been found to be functional contributors in regional development according to Agranoff & McGuire.

To improve the development of communities, regional authorities communicate to varied stakeholders to highlight numerous problems, resolve contradictory interests and pursue resources from ranking authorities and other sectors. Organizations may comprise partnerships, collaborative enterprises or community-based units. Lee and Feiock’s 2012 study, “Inter-Organizational Collaboration Networks in Economic Development Policy: An Exponential Random Graph Model Analysis,” suggests that multiple governmental and nongovernmental units can direct cooperative action to create strategic results that enrich the general well-being of a population. Regional development organizations provide the mechanism for collaborative networks necessary within the governance discipline. Within these networks, a governance perspective allows a variety of government and nongovernment to collaborate to best use the greater community resources.


Author: Mehmet Yesilbas, Ph.D., MPA, LL.B is district governor, attorney at law and deputy head of EU Affairs & Foreign Relations Department, Turkish Interior Ministry. Mr. Yesilbas can be reached at [email protected].

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One Response to How a Governance Approach Empowers Regional Policy Making

  1. Mustafa Reply

    October 18, 2014 at 12:25 am

    Excellent article 5 to 5

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