Exploring Resistance in Collaborative Forms of Governance: Meaning Negotiations and Counter-narratives in a Case from the Danish Education Sector

Mie Plotnikof*, Anne Reff Pedersen

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper addresses resistance in studies about collaborative forms of governance. Although the literature discusses collaborative challenges, issues related to resistance are largely unexplored and mostly regarded as destructive. However, we argue for understanding resistance more dynamically – as a co-constructive aspect of collaboration. Drawing on extant resistance studies, we combine concepts of meaning negotiation and counter-narrative to examine power-resistance relations in a case study of collaborative forms of governance in the Danish education sector. The findings elucidate how resistance complicates, yet also co-constructs collaboration in governance processes; discursive struggles over meanings of collaboration and a quality model invoke power-resistance relations that destabilize a dominant narrative and enable counter-narratives, which influence future collaborative processes. Hence, we suggest understanding resistance as a constitutive feature in collaborative forms of governance, rather than a destructive obstacle. This contributes with empirical and theoretical insights into the complex role of resistance in collaboration and governance processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101061
JournalScandinavian Journal of Management
Issue number4
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Collaborative governance
  • Counter-narrative
  • Education sector
  • Meaning negotiation
  • Organizational discourse
  • Resistance

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