What is modern governance? Is it the battle against ‘old-fashioned’ hierarchy, or is it the restoration of key hierarchical values? Is it optimizing network management, or maximizing the benefits of market thinking in the public-sector? This book argues that it is the combination of all this. The next question is: In practice, how do successful public managers design and manage combinations of hierarchical, network and market governance? In other words: what is their rationale to apply metagovernance?
Five case-studies show that metagovernance is a public management requisite: it amplifies the variation of actions public managers can take, and it prevents the three ideal-typical governance styles from undermining each other. Similar cases of strategic environmental policy-making in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and the European Commission and one case of community policing in the Netherlands illustrate that successful public-sector managers are dealing with similar metagovernance challenges in different socio-politico-administrative cultures.
"The future will not lie with markets, or hierarchies or networks but with all three and the trick will not be to manage contracts or steer networks but to mix the three systems effectively when they conflict with and undermine one another."
Davis and Rhodes (2000: 25): From hierarchy to contracts and back again: Reforming the Australian public sector.