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Networking in the Penumbra: Public Management, Cooptative Links, and Distributional Consequences

O'Toole, Laurence J. and Meier, Kenneth John 2006. Networking in the Penumbra: Public Management, Cooptative Links, and Distributional Consequences. International Public Management Journal 9 (3) , pp. 271-294. 10.1080/10967490600899580

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Recently, some researchers have begun to emphasize that governance networks can have a “dark” side as well as a relatively benign one. This work thus far has mostly emphasized illegal and violent forms of action. But even networks that operate in accord with the law often include covert, or at minimum difficult-to-observe, ties and pathways of influence. Likewise, managers involved in networking engage in behavior that is only partially observable. They can use their discretion to shape network action in ways that are hard to discern—and therefore analyze. Research on such subjects is limited, and the practical results of such behavior can include lack of accountability as well as inequitable distribution of outputs and outcomes. This article shows that individual network nodes can work to bias the actions of the organization in ways that are likely to benefit the organization's more advantaged clientele. This study reports on tests for differential impacts of managerial interactions of and with various network partners. The argument is supported with an analysis of performance data from 500 organizations over an eight-year period. Networks and managerial networking can generate considerable benefits but can also have a less palatable impact that managers and scholars need to consider seriously.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 1096-7494
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:33

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