POGO8137 Public Administration Foundations

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Table of Contents

Discussion about Public Administration



A new form has emerged of governance that replaces the adversarial and managerial approaches to formulating and implementing policies.

Collaborative governance, which brings together multiple stakeholders with public agencies in common forums, allows them to participate harmoniously in decision making (O’Flynn & Wanna 2013, 2013).

The collaborative governing agreement is where multiple public agencies invite non-state parties to participate in formal decision making to create public policies or implement programs.

Collaborative governance has these essential characteristics: the forum was established by the public agencies; all non-state stakeholder are invited to participate in the decision making process. The forum’s purpose is to create and implement public policies harmoniously, consensually.

This form has been created in response to the failures of managerialism and adversarialism.

Collaboration seems to be the best way to ensure that the adversarial approach to policy-making is avoided. This would allow for lower costs, increase democratic participation, and resuscitate public management.

The process of collaborative governance includes several stages.

Many scholars define consensus-building as either an implementation phase or a negotiation stage.

Guerrero and his colleagues (2015) identified three stages to the consensus-building process. They include policy formulation, development, and decision-making.

The term “governance”, which is one of the key elements of collaborative governance, is essential.

Many authors define governance as rules, legal systems, administrative practice, and judicial decisions that prevent and allow public goods or services to be provided.

When defining “governance”, it is often suggested that it refers a form or government that blurs boundaries between the private sector and the public.

Governance can also include decision-making processes, which require active participation by both the private as the public sectors.

A form of government in which both the public and private sectors collaborate to produce rules and laws to provide public goods is another important element of collaborative governance.

All individuals and interest groups can take part in the decision-making process that affects them.

Effective collaborative governance is a way to define the role of the public agencies, even though most of the collaboration arrangements are not involving any state actors.

Although the term ‘public agency’ includes the legislatures courts, bureaucracies, and other governmental entities, collaborative governance refers to executive branch agencies (Emerson & Gerlak (2014)).

These public agencies are more likely to create collaborative forums in order to meet statutory mandates, or for their own purposes.

Scholars believe collaborative governance shows that public agencies and non-state stakeholders have a different relationship.

For example, some authors claim that collaborative arrangements are representative of essential interest groups. However, others believe collaborative governance is inclusive of representatives of all related organizations.

Stakeholders in collaborative governance include participation by both organized groups and citizens as individuals.

The public agencies and stakeholders have distinct roles in collaborative arrangements, but they may be referred as stakeholders to simplify.

Effective collaboration is when it involves collectiveness.

The public agencies and stakeholders must communicate in a two-way manner.

They must meet together and take part in discussions (Bryson 2013).

Collaborative arrangements mean that all stakeholders must be involved in the decision making process. They will also have to bear the consequences of policies.

The collaborative form of governance is based on harmony. This means that all the participants in the forum must agree to take the necessary steps to resolve the relevant issues.

The final decision is made by the public agencies. However, collaboration has the goal of achieving agreement between all parties.

Collaborative Governance focuses on public-related policies and issues (Head & Alford (2015)).

Collaborative Governance is different than other forums, such as mediation forums or alternative dispute resolution forums.

Although the public agencies may use mediation or alternative dispute resolution forums to solve public issues, these forums can only resolve private disputes.

Collaboration is a form of governance that aims to lessen the indistinctness of the private and public sectors. This is why the term collaborative governance can be defined as a government dealing with public affairs.

Collaborative governance is effective when all stakeholders take part in the decision making process. It is evident that authority to exclude or include certain stakeholders will arise in the collaborative forum. However, certain stakeholders may be excluded from the collaboration process which could lead to the discrediting of the legitimacy of the decision-making process.

In the event that the relevant participants are not well represented in the forum’s final discussions, they may challenge the validity of those deliberations (Huxham & Vangen 2013).

The decision-making process of a collaborative forum is more successful if all parties have an opportunity to take part.

The success of a collaborative form or governance depends on three key factors. Whether people affected by decisions made by the forum respect participants, their expertise, or the authority of participants to make those decisions.

Collaboration is only possible if the participants have the collective authority, expertise, and decisive authority to make the decisions. (Fung (2015)

If any of these factors are lacking, the participants will be deemed incapable and not be able to make important decisions.

The participants are considered appropriate if they can demonstrate their ability to solve the issues.

Participants in collaborative governance may recognize that it is necessary to include more people in decision-making.

The participants in the collaborative governance process may be aware of the need to include people who are directly affected by the outcomes of the policies as well as those who want them to succeed.

For effective collaborative governance to be successful, stakeholders must be included. However, scholars have argued that participants should have distinct incentives to participate in the collaborative process, depending on their respective power (Bryson Crosby & Bloomberg 2014).

There are many factors that can hinder collaborative governance (Margerum 2016).

First, those who consider themselves to be powerful do not limit themselves to a single collaborative method. Instead, they prefer to have more options.

Scholars in collaborative governance have pointed out that when there are many options for resolution, it’s not always a favorable option.

The second issue is that of power imbalance. When decisions are made about including stakeholders from organised sectors of society, it may be because several interest groups may not have the structure to represent them in collaborative governance (Doberstein 2016).

It is therefore more difficult for stakeholders to be represented in the collaborative governances process if they are more affected.

There is also the possibility of conflicts and divergent interests.

These conflicts can cause inter-group conflict. It is difficult to overcome inter-group antagonism using collaborative governance processes.

These stakeholders are so involved in interpreting and solving their problems that they become enmeshed in the process.

This makes it difficult for them to concentrate on the collaboration governance process. (Choi & Robertson (2013)

Fourth, the conditions that were present at the beginning or end of the collaboration process. They can either encourage or discourage cooperation between the stakeholders or the stakeholders and the public authorities.

Fifth, if any stakeholders are not able or have no resources, status, or are unable to take part equally with other stakeholders, then the collaborative government process can be easily controlled by the stronger participants.

It is very concerning when key stakeholders don’t have the structural framework necessary to be included in a collaborative effort.

The other problem with the imbalance of power is the inability to mobilize stakeholders to take part in a time-consuming collaborative governance procedure.

Final note: In collaborative governance, participation is voluntary. It becomes difficult to comprehend the motivations of stakeholders, which encourages them into the collaborative governance.

If the participants use the right approach, the obstacles to a collaborative governance process can easily be overcome.

To begin with, it is important that participants identify the goal to achieve the shared benefit of all participants in collaborative governance. This includes avoiding conflicts between stakeholders and public agencies.

To overcome the power imbalance problem, it is essential to have a collaborative governance. This will allow for a positive strategy of empowerment, and effective representation of those who are less fortunate.

Thirdly, antagonism among stakeholders can be addressed if they are highly interdependent between themselves and trust each other. (Klievink Bharosa & Tang, (2016).

If optimism approaches are used to include faith, trust, confidence and social capital among the stakeholders, then the level of antagonism will decrease and all participants will work together in the decision making process to resolve any issues consensually.

This would allow for the development and implementation effective public policies.

Fourth, the process of collaboration must be led by an effective leader.

Effective leadership is essential in collaboration arrangements. It helps to bring the parties together and guide them through the difficult decisions.

Leadership allows stakeholders to collaborate and come together.

The third party can intervene to arbitrate if the participants fail reach an agreement. Mediation increases the responsibility.

The third party can offer a solution, even though it won’t be binding arbitration but it could provide a clear outline and plan (Bingham & O’Leary (2014)).

Leadership is crucial because it helps to establish clear ground rules; build trust, and seek common benefits.

Leadership is crucial because it empowers, embraces and involves all stakeholders. It also organizes them to work together in a collaborative effort.

A number of scholars agree that leadership must possess three essential elements in order to be effective: technical credibility, the ability to influence the collaborative process and the ability manage it effectively.

Fifthly, sometimes it is a problem when stakeholders are not able to provide a structural framework for a collaborative process.

If the interests of all participants are addressed, however, it is possible to resolve this problem.

This will help them to come to an agreement.

This would allow them to align their interests about how they can reach their shared and common goals (Ansell & Torfing (2015)).

The stakeholders would be able to reach an agreement if they can satisfy their personal and collective interest in order to realize the strategies and objectives of the collaborative governance.

As power and resource imbalances can affect the motivation of participants to engage in the collaborative governance process, the issue of incentives is crucial.

Incentives for stakeholders to be involved in the collaborative governance process depend on what they expect. This includes whether the collaborative process will yield them significant results and how much energy and time they are required to put into it.

Participation in the process is more attractive if participants are certain that it will produce a tangible, efficient, and satisfactory result.

However, stakeholders might decline incentives if it becomes apparent that their inputs are being treated as advice and not being implemented (Gash 2016).

Collaborative governance is where every person matters and everyone matters.

To address modern, complex public problems, it is crucial to work in a collaborative manner to create policies for public welfare. (Choi & Robertson (2014)

One recent example of collaboration in Australia is the Noosa Climate Action Plan. This is a community-oriented, multistakeholder plan.

The NCAP Plan is a highly collaborative planning process.

Australia’s adverse weather conditions have had an impact on the economy and environment, particularly Queensland (Smith et. al., 2015).

To address a complex issue like climate change, both government and non-governmental organisations must work together.

Collaboration was recognized as the best way to tackle the problem.

This approach placed emphasis on the promotion of community rights in decision-making processes at local levels through empowerment, knowledge, and other means.

It is important that participants are aware of the policy gaps in international frameworks and local action processes. The adaptations need to be implemented locally as well as nationally (Biddle & Koontz (2014)).

This highlights the importance collaboration between state and non-state organisations at all levels, from local to national.

NCAP was successful in that it brought together stakeholders to create a consensus-oriented, common decision-making environment.

The NCAP plan’s success was due to the following factors: effective leadership, increased incentives, mutual respect between stakeholders, developing trust and faith among participants, a consensus-oriented decision-making process, fair distribution and fair sharing of power (Keys. Thomsen & Smith 2016).

Collaborative governance is lacking accountability. Participants must trust one other and work together to understand each other’s needs and ideas.

This would allow the stakeholders to devise effective policies and address the demands of different interest groups. It would also help them reach their individual goals.

NCAP Plan’s success as a collaborative process demonstrates the importance of the participation of both the state actors and non-state actors to ensure effective collaborative governance (Howes & Dedekorkut 2016, 2016).

Effective leaders play a crucial role in getting stakeholders to agree.

As a mediator, leadership is crucial for representing the less powerful stakeholders in the decision making process.

Facilitative leadership is a mediation method that allows the balance to be maintained among the stakeholders, according to many scholars (Burton & Nalau 2016).

The leader must intervene if there are weak incentives to participate in the decision making process.

The role of mediator can be delegated to someone who does not have an interest in the outcomes of the policies in order to keep neutrality in the collaborative process in case of high conflict among stakeholders (Bryson Crosby & Stone (2015)).

It is quite common to not have mutual trust between the stakeholders at the start of a collaborative governance process.

The collaborative process does not only involve negotiation; it also involves how participants create mutual trust among each other.

It is clear from the above discussion that collaborative governance requires that stakeholders have mutual trust between themselves and a common understanding of the collective achievements.

While collaboration can face difficulties in preparing and implementing public policies, such as manipulation by powerful parties; lack of commitment on the part of public agencies; mutual distrust or lack of confidence among stakeholders, there are some factors that will enable you to achieve effective collaborative governance (Siddiki und al. (2015)).

These factors are classified as resource, stakeholder and organisational factors.

Participation of stakeholders at every stage of the decision-making process is one of the factors that are related to stakeholders.

It is essential that stakeholders are more motivated to be involved in the collaborative effort.

Merritt & Kelley 2017 also cite the importance of stakeholders collaborating to share responsibilities and resource (Merritt & Kelley 2017).

In order to be considered collaborative, all key stakeholders must participate in the collective decision making process of collaborative governance.

The lack of accountability and commitment in collaborative governance can result in fraud in the collective arrangements.

As it fosters mutual understanding and accountability, it is vital that stakeholders share responsibilities as well as resources.

Implementing effective collaborative governance will be possible if all stakeholders agree to take into account the welfare and benefit of the public when making decisions.

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