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2021 International Conference on Public Administration
May 14-16, 2021|Chengdu, P.R. China | Virtual and Online Conference

Theme: Improving Public Sector Decision Making and Performance Through Collaborative Governance

Important Dates:
Paper Abstracts Due: December 15, 2020
Presentation Notification: February 15, 2021
Invitation letters will be provided upon request before March 15, 2021

Although public sector organizations may draw strength from their bureaucratic structures, experience increasingly shows the limitations of a hierarchical and top-down approach to the performance of governmental functions. Problems may spill across organizational boundaries so that a hierarchical approach within a single organization may be inadequate to address them. A top-down approach also may deprive decision makers of needed external input about how to fit solutions to the problems they seek to address. And, increasingly in today’s world of public access to social media, top-down approaches may lack the legitimacy needed to ensure popular acceptance of governmental decisions.

Collaborative governance can help overcome these and other limitations of a hierarchical structure by adding the benefits of a network management approach to help improve the quality of decision making. The literature defining the precise meaning of the term “collaborative governance” is unsettled. On one end of the conceptual spectrum, collaboration merely means the pursuit of joint goals by two or more government organizations. Governance would be the structure and function of making joint decisions to achieve objectives that further the aims of each organization. A more expansive definition is that collaborative governance is a process where government decision makers bring relevant stakeholders—public, private and NGO—into the decision-making process. In all cases, collaborative governance takes place under applicable laws and other rules and is shaped by them.

2021 ICPA invites papers from academics and practitioners that highlight successful collaborative governance approaches to improving public sector decision making and performance, and lessons learned. We especially welcome those that use case studies and comparative analyses to illustrate promising practices and significant lessons. Perhaps most important, papers are invited that derive lessons, not merely describe theory or isolated experiences. For the purpose of this Call for Papers, we will accept quality submissions that fall within the range of suitable definitions of “collaborative governance.” Given potential ambiguity of the term, it will be helpful to specify the definition of the term that a submitted paper adopts.

Find the full Call for Papers and Awards details here.

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