Advertisement

Policy Sciences

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 3–24 | Cite as

The effects of boundary spanners on trust and performance of urban governance networks: findings from survey research on urban development projects in the Netherlands

  • Ingmar van MeerkerkEmail author
  • Jurian Edelenbos
Article

Abstract

Previous research has extensively analyzed the role, and indicated the importance, of network management for the functioning and performance of public or governance networks. In this article, we focus on the influence of boundary spanning actors in such networks—an aspect less examined in the governance network literature. Boundary spanners are considered to be important for governance network performance. Building on the literature, we expect a mediating role of trust in this relationship. To empirically test these relationships, we conducted survey research (N = 141) among project managers involved in urban governance networks: networks around complex urban projects that include the organizations involved in the governance process (the formulation of policies, decision making, and implementation) in these complex projects. We found a strong positive relationship between the presence of boundary spanners and trust and governance network performance. The results indicate a partially mediating role of trust in this relationship. Furthermore, we found that these boundary spanners originated mainly from private and societal organizations, and less from governmental organizations.

Keywords

Boundary spanners Trust Governance network performance Connective capacity Bridging actors Urban governance 

References

  1. Agranoff, R., & McGuire, M. (2001). Big questions in public network management research. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 11(3), 295–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahearne, M., Bhattacharya, C., & Gruen, T. (2005). Antecedents and consequences of customer-company identification: Expanding the role of relationship marketing. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(3), 574–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, J. C., & Gerbing, D. W. (1988). Structural equation modeling in practice: A review and recommended two-step approach. Pshychological Bulletin, 103(3), 411–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ansell, C., & Gash, A. (2008). Collaborative governance in theory and practice. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 18(4), 543–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brass, D. J., Galaskiewicz, J., Greve, H. R., & Tsai, W. (2004). Taking stock of networks and organizations: A multilevel perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 47(6), 795–817.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burt, R. S. (2004). Structural holes and good ideas. American Journal of Sociology, 110(2), 349–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Byrne, B. M. (2010). Structural equation modeling with AMOS. Basic concepts, applications, and programming. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Christensen, T., & Laegreid, P. (2007). The whole-of-government approach to public sector reform. Public Administration Review, 67(6), 1059–1066.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cristofoli, D., Markovic, J., & Meneguzzo, M. (2012). Governance, management and performance in public networks: How to be successful in shared-governance networks. Journal of Management and Governance. doi: 10.1007/s10997-012-9237-2.Google Scholar
  10. Cross, R., & Cummings, J. N. (2004). Ties and network correlates of individual performance in knowledge intensive work. Academy of Management Journal, 47(6), 928–937.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Davis, S. A. (2011). Investigating the impact of project managers’ emotional intelligence on their interpersonal competence. Project Management Journal, 42(4), 37–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dollinger, M. J. (1984). Environmental boundary spanning and information processing effects on organizational performance. Academy of Management Journal, 27(2), 351–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Edelenbos, J., Bressers, N., & Scholten, P. (2013). Water governance as connective capacity. London: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  14. Edelenbos, J., & Klijn, E. H. (2007). Trust in complex decision-making networks; a theoretical and empirical exploration. Administration and Society, 39(1), 25–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Edelenbos, J., & Teisman, G. R. (2011). Symposium on water governance. Prologue: water governance as a governments actions between the reality of fragmentation and the need for integration. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 77(1), 5–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Edelenbos, J., & van Meerkerk, I. (2011). Institutional evolution within democracy: Local self-governance meets local government. In J. Torfing & P. Triantafillou (Eds.), Interactive policy making, metagovernance and democracy (pp. 169–186). Colchester: ECPR Press.Google Scholar
  17. Ferguson, R. J., Paulin, M., & Bergeron, J. (2005). Contractual governance, relational governance, and the performance of interfirm service exchanges: The influence of boundary-spanner closeness. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 33(2), 217–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Field, A. P. (2005). Discovering statistics using SPSS (2nd ed.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Fleming, L., & Waguespack, D. (2007). Boundary spanning, broker age, and the emergence of leadership in open innovation communities. Organization Science, 18(2), 165–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18, 39–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fuchs, E. R. H. (2010). Rethinking the role of the state in technology development: DARPA and the case for embedded network governance. Research Policy, 39(9), 1133–1147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Granovetter, M. S. (1985). Economic action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology, 91(3), 481–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hair, J. F., Anderson, R. E., Tatham, R. L., & Black, W. C. (1995). Multivariate data analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  24. Healey, P. (2006). Transforming governance: challenges of institutional adaptation and a new politics of space. European Planning Studies, 14(3), 299–320.Google Scholar
  25. Huxham, C., & Vangen, S. (2005). Managing to collaborate; the theory and practice of collaborative advantage. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Jemison, D. B. (1984). The importance of boundary-spanning roles in strategic decision making. Journal of Management Studies, 21(2), 131–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Juenke, E. G. (2005). Management tenure and network time: How experience affects bureaucratic dynamics. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 15(1), 113–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kern, K., & Bulkeley, H. (2009). Cities, Europeanization and multi-level governance: Governing climate change through transnational municipal networks. Journal of Common Market Studies, 47(2), 309–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kickert, W. J. M., Klijn, E. H., & Koppenjan, J. F. M. (Eds.). (1997). Managing complex networks: Strategies for the public sector. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  30. Klijn, E. H. (2008). Governance and governance networks in Europe: An assessment of ten years of research on the theme. Public Management Review, 10(4), 505–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Klijn, E. H., Edelenbos, J., & Steijn, A. J. (2010a). Trust in governance networks; its impact and outcomes. Administration and Society, 42(2), 193–221.Google Scholar
  32. Klijn, E. H., Steijn, A. J., & Edelenbos, J. (2010b). The impact of network management strategies on the outcomes in governance networks. Public Administration, 88(4), 1063–1082.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Klijn, E.-H., & Teisman, G. (2003). Institutional and strategic barriers to public- private partnerships: An analysis of Dutch cases. Public Money and Management, 23(3), 137–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Koppenjan, J., & Klijn, E. H. (2004). Managing uncertainties in networks. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Kort, M., & Klijn, E. H. (2011). Public–private partnerships in urban regeneration projects: organizational form or managerial capacity? Public Administration Review, 71(4), 618–626.Google Scholar
  36. Leifer, R., & Delbecq, A. (1978). Organizational/environmental interchange: A model of boundary spanning activity. The Academy of Management Review, 3(1), 40–50.Google Scholar
  37. Levina, N., & Vaast, E. (2005) The emergence of boundary spanning competence in practice: Implications for implementation and use of information systems. MIS Quarterly (29:2), Jun 2005, pp 335–363.Google Scholar
  38. Lewicki, R. J., & Bunker, B. B. (1996) Developing and maintaining trust in work relationships. In: Kramer, R.M. en T.R. Tyler (Eds.) Trust in organizations. London: Sage, pp 114–139.Google Scholar
  39. McGuire, M., & Agranoff, R. (2011). The limitation of public management networks. Public Administration, 89(2), 265–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Meier, K., & O’Toole, L. J. (2007). Modelling public management: Empirical analysis of the management-performance nexus. Public Administration Review, 9(4), 503–527.Google Scholar
  41. Moynihan, D. P., & Pandey, S. K. (2005). Testing how management matters in an era of government by performance management. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 15(3), 421–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Musso, J. A., Weare, C., Oztas, N., & Loges, W. E. (2006). Neighborhood governance reform and networks of community power in Los Angeles. The American Review of Public Administration, 36, 79–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Perrone, V., Zaheer, A., & McEvily, B. (2003). Free to be trusted? Organizational constraints on trust in boundary spanners. Organization Science, 14(4), 422–439.Google Scholar
  44. Pierre, J. (Ed.). (2000). Debating governance: Authority, democracy, and steering. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Podsakoff, P. M., & Organ, D. W. (1986). Self-reports in organizational research: Problems and prospects. Journal of Management, 12, 531–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Provan, K. G., & Kenis, P. (2008). Modes of network governance: Structure, management, and effectiveness. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 18(2), 229–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Provan, K. G., & Milward, B. H. (2001). Do networks really work? A framework for evaluating public-sector organizational networks. Public Administration Review, 61(4), 414–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Purdue, D. (2001). Neighbourhood governance: Leadership, trust and social capital. Urban Studies, 38(12), 2211–2224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ramalingam, S., & Mahalingam, A. (2011). Enabling conditions for the emergence and effective performance of technical and cultural boundary spanners in global virtual teams. Engineering Project Organization Journal, 1(2), 121–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Seabright, M. A., Levinthal, D. A., & Fichman, M. (1992). Role of individual attachments in the dissolution of interorganizational relationships. Academy of Management Journal, 35(1), 122–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Shrout, P. E., & Bolger, N. (2002). Mediation in experimental and nonexperimental studies: New procedures and recommendations. Psychological Methods, 7, 422–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Skelcher, C., Klijn, E. H., Kübler, D., Sørensen, E., & Sullivan, H. (2011). Explaining the democratic anchorage of governance networks: Evidence from four European countries. Administrative Theory and Praxis, 33(1), 7–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sørensen, E., & Torfing, J. (2009). Making governance networks effective and democratic through metagovernance. Public Administration, 87(2), 234–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Steadman, H. J. (1992). Boundary spanners: A key component for the effective interactions of the justice and mental health systems. Law and Human Behavior, 16(1), 75–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Stevenson, W. B., & Greenberg, D. (2000). Agency and social networks: Strategies of action is a social structure of position, opposition, and opportunity. Administrative Science Quarterly, 45(4), 651–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Teisman, G. R. (2000). Models for research into decision-making processes: On phases. Streams and Decision-Making Rounds, Public Administration, 78(4), 937–956.Google Scholar
  57. Thal, A. E, Jr, & Bedingfield, J. D. (2010). Successful project managers: An exploratory study into the impact of personality. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 22(2), 243–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Torfing, J., & Triantafillou, P. (2011). Conclusions and perspectives. In J. Torfing & P. Triantafillou (Eds.), Interactive policy making, metagovernance and democracy (pp. 263–276). Colchester: ECPR Press.Google Scholar
  59. Tushman, M. L. (1977). Special boundary roles in the innovation process. Administrative Science Quarterly, 22(4), 587–605.Google Scholar
  60. Tushman, M. L., & Scanlan, T. J. (1981). Boundary spanning individuals: Their role in information transfer and their antecedents. The Academy of Management Journal, 24(2), 289–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Van Hulst, M., De Graaf, L., & Van den Brink, G. (2012). The work of exemplary practitioners in neighborhood governance. Critical Policy Studies, 6(4), 434–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Van Meerkerk, I. F., Boonstra, B., & Edelenbos, J. (2012). Self-organization in urban regeneration: A two-case comparative research. European Planning Studies. Doi:  10.1080/09654313.2012.722963.
  63. Wagenaar, H. (2007). Governance, complexity, and democratic participation: how citizens and public officials harness the complexities of neighborhood decline. American Review of Public Administration, 37(1), 17–50.Google Scholar
  64. Williams, P. (2002). The competent boundary spanner. Public Administration, 80(103), 124.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public AdministrationErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations