We investigated the role of power in public governance using a Foucauldian conceptualization of power, i.e., power is produced by a range of techniques as diverse as language and measuring. We draw on an evaluation study of a quality improvement collaborative, in which different mental health care organizations were encouraged to improve their care in a structured way. We analyzed how the different actors involved in the collaborative were governed and came to govern themselves differently. Measurement instruments were an example of a dominant mechanism by which actors at different levels of the collaborative were governed: by accounting for improvements, introducing or strengthening a certain way of thinking about health care clients, and changing how clients thought about and acted upon themselves. We argue that the focus on consequences of governing techniques is fruitful for studying governmentality and leads to new research questions in the context of public policy analyses.

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Keywords health care
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9299.2011.01967.x, hdl.handle.net/1765/37274
Journal Public Administration
Citation
Broer, T, Nieboer, A.P, & Bal, R.A. (2012). Governing Mental Health Care: How Power Is Exerted In And Through A Quality Improvement Collaborative. Public Administration, 90(3), 800–815. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9299.2011.01967.x