The literature on collaborative governance has generated several comprehensive models detailing the conditions which collaborations must meet to achieve collaborative performance. The importance of each separate condition – such as the presence of incentives to participate, appropriate institutional designs, or facilitative leadership – has been validated in various studies. How all of these conditions interact with each other, and whether all of the conditions need to be present to achieve performance, is less well understood. Leveraging the rich resource of the newly created Collaborative Governance Case Database, this article explores the different pathways to performance used by 26 local collaborations. The analysis shows that the presence of strong incentives for partners to collaborate is a crucial condition for success; almost all performing cases shared this starting point. Performance was then achieved by combining strong incentives with either clear institutional design (e.g. explicit rules, transparent decision-making) or with intensive collaborative processes (e.g. face-to-face dialogue, knowledge sharing). This analysis shows that the current models for collaborative governance can serve as roadmaps, laying out all of the different conditions than may be important, but that collaborations can follow different routes to reach their objectives.

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Policy and Society
Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS)

Douglas, S., Berthod, O., Groenleer, M., & Nederhand, M.J. (2020). Pathways to collaborative performance: examining the different combinations of conditions under which collaborations are successful. Policy and Society. doi:10.1080/14494035.2020.1769275