The relationship between representative democracy and governance networks is investigated at a theoretical level. Four conjectures about the relationship are defined. The incompatibility conjectures rests on the primacy of politics and sees governance networks as a threat. The complementarity conjecture presents governance networks as a means of enabling greater participation in the policy process and sensitivity in programme implementation. The transitional conjecture posits a wider evolution of governance forms towards network relationships. The instrumental conjecture views governance networks as a powerful means through which dominant interests can achieve their goals. Illustrative implications for theory and practice are identified, in relation to power in the policy process, the public interest, and the role of public managers. The heuristic potential of the conjectures is demonstrated through the identification of an outline research agenda.

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Keywords governance networks, policy process, power, public interest, public management, public managers, representative democracy
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Klijn, E-H., & Skelcher, C.. (2007). Democracy and governance networks: compatible or not?. Retrieved from