Chapter 15: Context in governance networks: complex interactions between macro, meso and micro. A theoretical exploration and some empirical evidence on the impact of context factors in Taiwan, Spain and the Netherlands
In the discussion about governance it is very interesting to explore the meaning of context since context in many ways has an important position in that discussion (Emerson et al., 2012). After all, practically every conceptualization of governance emphasizes that because the context in which governments operate has changed (Agranoff, 2011) this has consequences for the social patterns in which concrete decision processes and service delivery takes place. Thus one could say that at the macro level, relation between society and government changes, which has consequences for the meso level (the patterns of social relationships) and that has impact on the concrete strategic interactions (policy making and service delivery, thus the strategic level and the outcomes). This is reflected, or should be, when authors draw normative conclusions in the way governments try to solve societal problems. In this chapter we want to do two things. Firstly, explore the possible use of context in the governance discussion. For that we explore the meaning of the word governance and some of the core assumptions that can be found in the literature on governance. We then explore how context is conceptualized in the governance discussion on the macro level (changes in society), on the meso level (changes in the relations between organizations and especially between governmental organizations and societal organizations) and at the micro level (the level of interactions and decision-making).
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