The governance of self-organization: Which governance strategy do policy officials and citizens prefer'

Research paper by José Nederhand, Erik-Hans Klijn; Martijn van der Steen; Mark van Twist

Indexed on: 23 Dec '18Published on: 18 Dec '18Published in: Policy sciences


This article compares views of policy officials and members of community-based collectives on the ideal role of government in processes of community self-organization. By using Q methodology, we presented statements on four different governance perspectives: traditional public administration, New Public Management, network governance, and self-governance. Perceptions differ about how government should respond to the trend of community self-organization and, in particular, about the primacy of the relationship. Whereas some public servants and collectives favor hands-off involvement of policy officials, others show a preference for a more direct and interactive relation between government and community-based collectives. In general, neither of the two groups have much appreciation for policy instruments based on performance indicators, connected to the New Public Management perspective or strong involvement of politicians, connected the traditional public administration perspective. This article contributes to the discussion of how practitioners see and combine governance perspectives and serve to enable dialogs between practitioners.