Do intermunicipality networks really work? Looking for the visibile and invisible predictors of public network performance
Do public networks really work? What are the predictors of successful and unsuccessful networks? These are long-standing themes in public management literature. Since the work of Provan and Milward (1995) and Provan and Sebastian (1998) regarding the determinants of public network performance, many scholars have investigated this issue, but with controversial results.In the article "Networking literature about determinants of network effectiveness" (Turrini et al. 2010), it is argued that this might depend on the lack of quantitative studies testing the simultaneous effect of all the ("visible" and "invisible") predictors of public network performance.The aim of our current research proposal is to fill this gap. More specifically, our aim is to identify the "visible" and "invisible" predictors of successful and unsuccessful networks, by considering and testing their simultaneous effect on the network performance.The empirical setting will be represented by the public networks Swiss municipalities set up to provide health and social care services.The project has two broad purposes. First, it is intended to contribute to the literature concerning the management and governance of public networks, by testing the model of the predictors of network performance built in the article "Networking literature about determinants of network effectiveness". Second, the project purports to provide policy-makers and public managers with insights on creating and managing successful intermunicipality networks in Switzerland and abroad.