The External Dimension of the European Research Area
Edited by Heiko Prange-Gstöhl
Chapter 10: The Organization of Policy Coordination in Multi-level Spaces: Implications for EU International S & T Policy
10. The organization of policy coordination in multi-level spaces: implications for EU international S&T policy Robert Kaiser INTRODUCTION: NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE POLICY COORDINATION IN MULTI-LEVEL SPACES In systems of multi-level governance, policy actors are likely to coordinate their activities within horizontal or vertical policy networks1 if they are convinced that ‘a sharing of tasks and responsibilities’ or ‘doing things together instead of doing them alone’ (Kooiman 1993, p. 1) would be beneficial both for participating actors as well as for public welfare. Policy networks have spread within the European system of multi-level governance because policy coordination within networks seems to be the most effective mechanism for the management of interdependencies if alternative modes of coordination are either not at hand (for example top-down hierarchical order by the highest political level) or if they are considered to be not appropriate (for example competition for the best solution which would produce winners and losers). Indeed, network arrangements seem to combine the advantages of competitive and hierarchical coordination without incurring their respective deficits. Networks offer more flexibility than hierarchies if they are able to produce an added value or solutions for commonly shared problems, which can be implemented by actors who preserve their autonomy. Therefore, it can be assumed that the most challenging aspect of the organization of policy coordination within multi-level policy networks is not only the definition of commonly shared problems or possible added values, but also the determination of the degree of the actors’ autonomy as well as the...
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