Negotiating Collaborative Governance Designs: A Discursive Approach

Mie Plotnikof

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article addresses the design and implementation issues of collaborative governance, a public-management practice aimed at involving stakeholders in problem solving and public innovation. Although aspects of for example stakeholder inclusion and power are conceptualized in the literature, these issues remain challenging in practice. Therefore, the interest in understanding the emerging processes of collaborative governance is growing. This article contributes to theorizing discursive aspects of such processes by conceptualizing and exploring the meaning negotiations through which collaborative governance designs emerge and change. The findings of a case study of local governments' efforts to innovate quality management in education through collaborative governance suggest that such form of governance is continuingly negotiated in communication during both design and implementation phases. Through the meaning negotiations of local designs, discursive tensions and resistance generate changes in the organizing. The article shows that a discursive approach offers concepts valuable for refining the understanding of the emergence of collaborative governance in practice, and proposes approaching this process as organizing accomplished through and complicated by endemic meaning negotiations and change.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalThe Innovation Journal
Issue number3
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Collaborative governance
  • Organizational discourse
  • Process
  • Public innovation

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