The Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions
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The Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions


DisciplinaCiências Políticas e Teoria do Estado622 materiais7.849 seguidores
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actors. Second, complete networks confront a
problem of boundary speciWcation. As the small world phenomenon demonstrates,
everyone may be (at several removes) connected to everyone else. So where should
the boundary be drawn? Network analysts generally solve this problem in one of two
ways\u2014each of which corresponds to a diVerent technique for gathering the data.
One approach is to specify the boundary at the outset on the basis of non-network
criteria\u2014for example the boundary of the organization or work unit, the policy
sector, or geographical units. In such cases, it is often useful to beginwith a complete
list of the individuals, groups, or organizations contained within this boundary. The
researcher then asks each actor on the list about their relationship with every other
actor on the list. A second approach is often used when the boundary is diYcult
to specify ahead of time. In fact, identiWcation of who is part of the network may be
one of the main purposes for gathering data. In this case, snowball sampling is used
to collect network data. Much like egocentric data, this approach starts with a
few focal actors and then asks them about their relationships. It then builds
outward, asking actors speciWed in the Wrst round of interviewing who they are
related to. Sampling may continue until the discovery of new actors drops oV.
4 Policy Networks
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The network analysis literature described above has mostly been developed in
sociology and anthropology. In political science, a largely separate body of research
has developed to study \u2018\u2018policy networks.\u2019\u2019 The policy network literature itself arose
at the conXuence of several streams of research. Among the earliest precursors to
the policy network literature was Heclo and Wildavsky\u2019s (1974) study of the British
Treasury Department, which uncovered the importance of personal networks
between civil servants and politicians as an important factor shaping policy
decisions. In the USA, development of the policy network concept arose out of
work on \u2018\u2018sub-governments\u2019\u2019\u2014the idea that policy-making and implementation
were controlled by a select group of agencies, legislators, and interest groups.
Working in this tradition, Heclo (1978) coined the term \u2018\u2018issue network\u2019\u2019 to describe
more diVuse forms of linkage than implied by the terms \u2018\u2018sub-government\u2019\u2019 or
80 christopher ansell
\u2018\u2018iron triangle.\u2019\u2019 A closely related stream of European work on policy networks grew
out of studies of corporatism and interest intermediation (Katzenstein 1978;
Lembruch 1984). A second stream of research arose from an international group
of researchers studying complex interorganizational relationships in government
in the 1970s (e.g. Hanf and Scharpf 1979). This work emphasized that policy-
making and implementation required complex coordination and negotiation
among many diVerent actors. A third stream of policy network research grew out
of work on \u2018\u2018community power studies,\u2019\u2019 which essentially examined the social
structure of politics in cities. Work by Lauman and Pappi (1976), in particular,
advanced this into the study of policy networks.
All of these approaches combine two somewhat opposed images of political
organization and process: all of them stress that political structure and process is
highly diVerentiated, comprising the participation of a diverse range of actors; the
opposing image suggests that these actors are linked together around their mutual
interest or interdependence in speciWc policy domains. Thus, the network
approach has the advantage of representing the ideas of both pluralists (empha-
sizing diVerentiation) and elite theorists (emphasizing connectivity).
The next generation of policy network research began to clarify diVerences
internal to networks and to articulate mechanisms by which they worked. Notably,
Rhodes (1985) distinguished Heclo\u2019s concept of \u2018\u2018issue networks\u2019\u2019 from \u2018\u2018policy
communities\u2019\u2019 in terms of the stability and restrictiveness of networks. He also
articulated a \u2018\u2018power-dependence\u2019\u2019 perspective that provided a framework for
thinking about why and how networks were formed and how they operated. In a
recent review of the policy network literature, Rhodes (2006) contrasts this
\u2018\u2018power-dependence\u2019\u2019 approach with the rational choice institutionalist approach
to policy networks developed by Scharpf (1997).
Some of the policy network literature has drawn on the network analysis
techniques described above. Laumann and Knoke\u2019s (1987) massive study of Ameri-
can policy networks and Knoke, Pappi, Broadbent, and Tsujinaka\u2019s (1996)
comparative study of labor policy networks oVer important examples.
5 Organizations
.........................................................................................................................................................................................
The study of organizations is another area in which network institutionalism is well
represented. La Porte\u2019s (1975) work on complexity, which deWned organizational
complexity in terms of the number of units and the number of interconnections
between these units, provides an early precursor to this network institutionalism.
network institutionalism 81
The shift to an open systems perspective, particularly with its increased focus on
interorganizational relations, provided another impetus. Benson\u2019s (1975) political
economy approach to interorganizational relations claimed \u2018\u2018networks\u2019\u2019 of organ-
izations were a new unit of analysis.
A decade or more later, the rising inXuence of institutional economics provided
another context for the articulation of network ideas. The work of Oliver
Williamson posed \u2018\u2018markets\u2019\u2019 and hierarchies\u2019\u2019 as two alternative means of organ-
izing economic transactions. The framework placed organization on a continuum
between contract (market) and authority (hierarchy). In an inXuential article,
Powell (1990) argued that \u2018\u2018network organizations\u2019\u2019 were neither markets nor
hierarchies. He argued that network organizations achieve coordination through
trust and reciprocity rather than through contract or authority.
Other work on organizations points to structural aspects that made them diYcult
to describe either as markets or as hierarchies. For example, Faulkner (1983) applied
network models to the process of forming project teams in the American Wlm
industry. At the same time, the burgeoning importance of strategic alliances and
joint ventures between Wrms gave credence to thinking of interorganizational rela-
tions between Wrms in network terms. Gerlach\u2019s (1992) network analysis of Japanese
intercorporate relations provides a notable example. A 1990 volume by Nohria and
Eccles gave additional impetus to thinking of organizations as networks. These ideas
have been used in political science to describe political parties (Schwartz 1990).
A somewhat separate line of research in public administration stressed the
importance of thinking about interorganizational relationships in network terms.
Fragmentation of service delivery and the complexity of implementation processes
was a major concern of this literature. One common theme was how to achieve
coordination among multiple public agencies with overlapping missions and
authority. Chisholm\u2019s (1989) study of the role of informal networks in coordinating
multiple transportation agencies and Provan and Milward\u2019s (1995) comparison of
mental health networks in four American cities oVer good examples of this genre.
The managerial emphasis of this work is well represented in Kickert, Klijn, and
Koppenjan (1997).
6 Markets