Collaborative Governance Research


  • Annotated Bibliography updated. PARCC at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University recently posted an amazing 280 page annotated bibliography on Collaborative Governance (broadly defined).  Updated in Summer 2021 by University of Kansas PhD student Maggie Swenson, the goal of the annotated bibliography is to further quality research on collaboration around the world.  Click here to access the annotated bibliography free of charge.

  • Environmental Governance and Conflict Management in Belize. PARCC's grant-funded project in Belize is designed to strengthen the capacity of government and civil society organizations to constructively manage environmental disputes in that country.

  • Conflict and Collaboration: Better or Worse Relations. PARCC associates from seven disciplines are actively engaged in planning a book that develops an interdisciplinary approach to conflict analysis within the fields of conflict resolution and collaboration.

  • Citizenship and Deliberation Working Group. This working group, which involves faculty from Imagining America, Communication and Rhetorical Studies, Political Science, and Public Administration, has been named a Center for Public Life by the Kettering Foundation..


Interorganizational Collaboration

Collaborative Leadership and Governance. Although academics discuss and study the use of “collaborative governance” in public management, there are few empirical studies to show when and how managers choose to use collaboration as a tool.  This research targets senior executive service members in the federal government.  It will seek to understand why senior public managers choose to collaborate, their perceptions of challenges and constraints, and the role of personal skill and technology. It will allow researchers to see how theories of collaboration play out in real-world decision-making. Rosemary O’Leary; Catherine Gerard 

Engaging Employees, Improving Performance: The Future of Labor Engagement in the Federal Government. This research inquires into the history of labor-management collaborative efforts in the Federal service, with particular focus on the impact of the Clinton and Bush years and the opportunity before the Obama administration, in order to uncover key linkages between engagement of federal employees through their unions and improved agency performance. Collaboration between a group of three universities and six major federal sector unions was fostered resulting in a working session (or “retreat”) of approximately 40 federal labor representatives, with substantial experience in “partnership” efforts during the Clinton administration who met in September 2009 to identify how to make collaboration and/or workforce engagement effective to improve the Federal service.  Maxwell students, staff and professors generously provided the major efforts of meeting planning and coordination and session facilitation. The resulting recommendations contained in a “best practices white paper, published in early February 2010 were adopted substantially in full by the new joint National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations and disseminated widely to all federal agencies and unions in late February 2010. The three universities then sponsored a half-day “summit” in March 2010, hosted by the Teamsters, where top level union leaders, representatives of the Senior Executive Association, Federal Managers Association, key agency heads, congressional representatives, and key administration officials discussed the white paper and recommendations with the facilitation of the three professors, John Berry, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, and Jeffrey Zients, Chief Performance Officer for the Office of Management and Budget.  

Groups and Individuals in Networks

Collaborative Experiment. This experiment examines group decision-making that leads to or inhibits collaboration through a simulation of organizational networks.  Groups of subjects are examined for their willingness to share information with other groups.  The research looks at impact of group composition, associations, and values, and how these aspects affect the allocation of resources and knowledge. Tina Nabatchi

Public Participation

Public Deliberation and Public Action: Assessing the Impacts of Deliberation on Policy Choices. Little research has empirically examined the impact of deliberative democracy on public decision-making; this research aims to fill that void by studying the outcomes of a “21st Century Town Meeting” held in Owensboro, Kentucky. This meeting utilized the inputs of 650 participants discussing five local priorities.  Through structured interviews, the impact of the deliberation will be studied and reported. Tina Nabatchi

Citizen Engagement and Empowerment in London: Creating Digital Neighborhoods. This project examines the work being done to engage citizens in local government and governance via Internet and social media technologies.Interviews with a dozen project managers are complete and are currently being transcribed. When this work is complete, a research report will be prepared for the London Councils and Capital Ambitions. In addition, a case study and/or teaching case, as well as a journal article about participation in local government will be drafted. Research from this second project has been used to inform a white paper about the use of Internet and social media technologies to engage citizens in the work of local government, which will be published in 2010 by the Alliance for Innovation, a partnership of the International City/County Management Association. Tina Nabatchi