The traditional criticism of qualitative analysis is that it is subjective, opaque and impressionist. The chapter tackles the classic problem of confidence in the process and results of qualitative analysis by discussing its potential sources as well as offering solutions to each of these sources. In doing so, the chapter looks at the general practice of qualitative data work, but it especially highlights the issues and solutions of particular significance for implementation and street-level bureaucracy research. The focus is on four sets of issues: decontextualized collection and analysis of data; data overload and inadequate data retrieval; doubts about the quality of conclusions; and opaque documenting and reporting. By treating these issues as core sources of doubts in the credibility and dependability of qualitative research, the chapter offers and illustrates solutions that can be effectively employed as preventive measures or responses to shortcomings of qualitative data work.
Anka Kekez and Andrija Henjak
This chapter explores pathways through which collaborative implementation arrangements might by be used not just for tackling collective problems but also for the advancing particularistic political objectives. By focusing on the metagoverning process through which collaboration-inspired reformist ideas are turned into service delivery practice, the chapter highlights the role executive politicians have in ensuring democratically anchored and effective public services. However, it is argued, if performed by elected officials who are incentivized to engage politicized allocation of public goods and jobs in systems of government where they are not held accountable to citizens for the quality and quantity of services provided, the metagovernance role could be misused. Based on analysis of reform of elderly care services in Croatia, the chapter shows how the metagovernance process could be used by patronage-driven politicians as a route to turn collaborative service provision into opportunities to use state resources for accommodating rent-seeking needs.
Anka Kekez, Michael Howlett and M Ramesh
Collaborative arrangements such as co-production, co-management, consultations, contracting-out, commissioning and certification in recent years have been at the centre of efforts to re-think and improve the provision of public services. Unfortunately, lost in the discussion of the possible benefits of these alternative modes of service delivery has been the understanding of exactly in what instances a particular arrangement can be considered as ‘collaborative’ and when and how such arrangements are able to address specific social needs or a particular sector’s problem. To address these questions and move practice and discussion forward, the chapter and the volume introduces, re-conceptualizes and re-analyzes major collaborative arrangements in public service delivery though a governance lens. After addressing the nature of each major collaboration type, the chapter sheds light on the political, analytical and managerial competences that are critical for the success of collaborative efforts in public service provision.