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Boundary Spanners in Public Management and Governance

An Interdisciplinary Assessment

Ingmar van Meerkerk and Jurian Edelenbos

Boundary spanning behavior is important for both public, non-profit and private organizations to ‘survive’: to stay relevant in relation to the environment, to innovate, to improve performance and to collaborate in an effective manner, especially in multi-organizational settings. Providing an assessment of factors influencing the work and effectiveness of boundary spanners, and discussing the impact of boundary spanners on different types of outcomes (collaboration, trust, organizational innovation), this book offers a coherent overview of the evolution of boundary spanning in an interactive governance context.
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Figures and tables

Ingmar van Meerkerk and Jurian Edelenbos


1.1  Publications with boundary spanning/spanners in title/abstract/key words in the period 2000–2016

3.1  Structuralist model of boundary transaction system in the context of bargaining and negotiating between organizations (adapted slightly from Adams, 1976: 1180)

6.1  Integral framework of antecedents of boundary spanning behaviour

7.1  Heuristic model depicting the direct and indirect impacts of boundary spanning behaviour

8.1  Integrative and dynamic framework on boundary spanning activities and behaviour


1.1  A readers’ guide

2.1  Key drivers for boundary spanning and potential role of boundary spanners

3.1  Typology of the structuring of boundary spanning activities (BSA) (adapted from Leifer and Delbecq, 1978)

3.2  Overview of theoretical perspectives on boundary spanning

4.1  Typologies of boundary spanning activities developed in different contexts

5.1  Distinct features of the four boundary spanning profiles

6.1  Factors impacting on boundary spanning behaviour identified in our systematic literature review

7.1  Categories of impact by boundary spanning behaviour