It has become popular to advocate partnership arrangements. Such partnerships may be seen as new forms of governance, which fit in with the imminent network society. However, the idea of partnership is often introduced without much reflection on the need to reorganize policy-making processes and to adjust existing institutional structures. In this contribution, we discuss the ambiguity of partnerships. An empirical basis is provided by means of an analysis of the policy making on the expansion of the Rotterdam harbor. This case indicates that although new governance schemes are being proposed and explored, they still have to comply with the existing procedures in which they are imbedded. Governments especially are not prepared to adjust to governance arrangements. Policy making continues to be based on self-referential organizational decisions, rather than on joint interorganizational policy making. This raises questions about the added value of intended cooperative governance processes.

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Keywords Governance, Government, Policy Making, Private Sector, Public Administration, Public Private Partnership
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Journal Public Administration Review
Teisman, G.R, & Klijn, E-H. (2002). Partnership Arrangements: Governmental Rhetoric or Governance Scheme?. Public Administration Review, 62(2), 197–198. doi:10.1111/0033-3352.00170