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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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Chapter 2: Boundaries and drivers for boundary spanning in public management and governance

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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