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Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk

There have often been high hopes for the contribution of interactive governance to the realization of normative goals. In this chapter we investigate whether these normative goals are actually met in real life governance processes. In the literature one can distinguish three main normative goals: interactive governance strives for enhancing efficiency, effectiveness and legitimacy. However, these goals are not realized without problems and tensions. Interactive governance needs a great deal of capacity and resources and is therefore costly and time-consuming. Moreover, there is the danger of symbolic stakeholder involvement in which real dialogue and results are not achieved. Finally, valuable input is often neglected, and there are issues with vertical accountability. Whether the high hopes are met depends on how the main three issues of inclusiveness, throughput legitimacy and accountability are resolved.
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Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk

This chapter introduces the phrase “vitality mechanisms” which support interactive and collaborative governance and discusses the challenges associated with applying them in practice. Vitality mechanisms refer to the procedural and relational capacity among actors in a network, which the authors suggest is strongly related to governance capacity and relational capacity. Vitality is supported by informal structures or settings that promote interaction among actors, boundary spanning activities that build and activate relationships among actors, constructive dialogue and deliberation among actors, trust to enhance the performance of networks, and institutionalization of relationships that allow ongoing interaction. However, the conditions necessary for supporting vitality also confront challenges related to the interplay between the conditions, the impacts of the evolution of networks over time, and the contextual effects on these conditions.
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Ingmar van Meerkerk and Jurian Edelenbos

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Ingmar van Meerkerk and Jurian Edelenbos

This chapter sets out the aims and plan of the book. It discusses the need for examining boundary spanners and their behavior. Moreover, it stresses the need to realize a more comprehensive understanding of boundary spanning behavior, its antecedents and impact. In this respect it argues for a more interdisciplinary approach and for more systematic knowledge accumulation. Furthermore, it discusses the added value of the book compared to other books on boundary spanning. Next to a readers guide and overview of the various chapters, it provides a definition of boundary spanners and it presents the approach taken in this book of which a systematic literature review on boundary spanners is pivotal.

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Ingmar van Meerkerk and Jurian Edelenbos

This chapter discusses different developments in society, government and politics which increasingly lead to calls for boundary spanning behavior in the field of public management and governance. It first goes deeper into the concept of boundaries and the dual nature of boundaries. Then it discusses several developments in society and government that can be considered as drivers for boundary spanning work in public management and governance. Three developments are discussed in particular: (1) the increasing complexity of societal issues, (2) increasingly experienced fragmentation of government organizations and institutions, and (3) rising calls for participation, co-production and community-based initiatives. Finally, the potential role of boundary spanners in relation to these developments is elaborated.

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Ingmar van Meerkerk and Jurian Edelenbos

This chapter deals with the theoretical roots and evolution of boundary spanning theory. It provides an overview of various theoretical perspectives on boundary spanning and discusses differences and complementarities between the perspectives. It thereby provides an overview in the various literature and approaches on boundary spanning which can enhance comprehensive understanding of boundary spanning theory and which can be used in research on boundary spanning. In this chapter three theoretical perspectives on boundary spanning are distinguished and discussed: the structuralist, the role, and the action perspective. Each perspective approach boundary spanners in a distinct way and highlights different aspects of boundary spanning behavior. Furthermore, we come to a definition of boundary spanners building on the different perspectives, elaborating four key features of boundary spanners.

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Ingmar van Meerkerk and Jurian Edelenbos

Given the ambiguity in the conceptualization and measurement of boundary spanners, this chapter goes deeper into various activities distinguished in the literature and discusses methodological considerations in researching boundary spanners. It discusses the wide spectrum of methods and measurements used in the study of boundary spanners, varying from ethnographic research in profiling boundary spanners to quantitative and mixed method designs. Whereas the quantitative studies generally aim to measure certain types of boundary spanning activity, try to explain variation in boundary spanning behavior and test the effects of boundary spanning, qualitative studies pay more attention to typifying and contextualizing boundary spanning activity. In general the purpose of this chapter is to critically reflect on and compare different methods and research designs in studying boundary spanners in order to enhance and support future research. It thereby also aims to remove the ambiguity in detecting and examining boundary spanners and to come with a more solid and balanced methodological approach.

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Ingmar van Meerkerk and Jurian Edelenbos

This chapter aims to provide boundary spanners a face. Who are they and what do they do? The answer depends on the contextual circumstances in which boundary spanners operate. In this respect four profiles of boundary spanners in the context of public management and governance are developed: 1) the fixer, 2) the bridger, 3) the broker, and 4) the innovate entrepreneur. These different profiles contextualize boundary spanning and discusses the qualities, motivations, competences and typical challenges that each type of boundary spanner is confronted with. The chapter ends with a reflection and comparison of the four profiles and how these profiles might complement each other in cross-boundary endeavors.

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Ingmar van Meerkerk and Jurian Edelenbos

In the field of public management and governance there is relatively little insight in antecedents of boundary spanning behavior. There is some research discussing individual competences, but organizational and environmental factors are not much examined yet. As organizational psychology and business administration literature has picked up the topic of boundary spanning antecedents more extensively, much can be learned from these disciplines. Based on a systematic literature review, this chapter distinguishes and discusses different types of antecedents that influence boundary spanning behaviour (quality and level of boundary spanning activities) and job experience of boundary spanners. Four sets of antecedents are discussed: (1) individual determinants, (2) environmental characteristics, (3) organizational support, and (4) role composition and role stressors. In the last section a framework in which these different types of antecedents are related will be discussed and several avenues for future research will be provided.