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Heading towards a Network Theory of Effectiveness

Published by USC Bedrosian Center on

Consortium on Collaborative Governance featuring Joerg Raab, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Despite the ever-increasing importance of networks as a societal phenomenon, network researchers in business, public management, and health care services still have only a marginal understanding of consciously created, goal-directed inter-organizational networks consisting of three or more organizations (Provan, Fish, & Sydow, 2007). One of the few studies that address the effectiveness of those networks is the study by Provan and Milward (1995), which investigates the relationship between structural network
characteristics and network effectiveness in four mental health care networks in the U.S. We first closely replicate this study adding data on four networks of a similar type in the Netherlands and then jointly analyze all eight networks using Fuzzy-Set QCA (Ragin 2000). This increasingly popular method of analysis allows researchers to identify different configurations of conditions that might lead to certain outcomes. The results of this study confirm the main findings by Provan and Milward; namely, the positive impact of centralized integration, resource munificence, external control and stability of the network for network effectiveness. The configurational approach, however, enables us to further specify these results and identify two distinct constellations of conditions including the governance of those networks that lead to effective outcomes.

Bedrosian Center