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How and why network governance evolves: evidence from a public safety network


Public sector organizations increasingly form interorganizational networks that rely on technology to achieve what they cannot achieve independently. The governance of these public sector networks is complex due to the nature of interorganizational relationships and technology. This paper aims to increase our understanding of network governance by exploring the evolution of governance over the 40+ year lifespan of a public sector network. The historical case study is based on the technology affordance and organizational actualization concepts applied to three critical incidents in the history of a public safety network. The incidents provide evidence that technology and governance do interact, that timing matters and that future research is needed to understand more fully how and why network governance evolves and the implications of governance evolution on network performance.

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    The name of the public safety network has been disguised.


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I am indebted to the many individuals associated with National Justice Network who participated in the in-depth case study and made documents available. This work was supported in part by National Science Foundation grants IIS-0534877 & #IIS-0534889. I am grateful for the support of the NSF and for the support of my colleagues who worked on the grants. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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Correspondence to Dax D. Jacobson.

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Responsible Editor: Marijn Janssen

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Jacobson, D.D. How and why network governance evolves: evidence from a public safety network. Electron Markets 26, 43–54 (2016).

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  • Network governance
  • Technology affordances
  • Case study

JEL classification

  • M150