Governance, Coordination and Evaluation: the case for an epistemological focus and a return to C.E. Lindblom

Greenwood, D. 2016. Governance, Coordination and Evaluation: the case for an epistemological focus and a return to C.E. Lindblom. Political Research Quarterly. 69 (1), pp. 30-42. doi:10.1177/1065912915620048

TitleGovernance, Coordination and Evaluation: the case for an epistemological focus and a return to C.E. Lindblom
AuthorsGreenwood, D.
Abstract

While much political science research focuses on conceptualizing and analyzing various forms of governance, there remains a need to develop frameworks and criteria for governance evaluation (Torfing et al 2012). The post-positivist turn, influential in recent governance theory, emphasizes the complexity, uncertainty and the contested normative dimensions of policy analysis. Yet a central evaluative question still arises concerning the capacity of governance networks to facilitate ‘coordination’. The classic contributions of Charles Lindblom, although pre-dating the contemporary governance literature, can enable further elaboration of and engagement with this question. Lindblom’s conceptualisation of coordination challenges in the face of complexity shares with post-positivism a recognition of the inevitably contested nature of policy goals. Yet Lindblom suggests a closer focus on the complex, dynamically evolving, broadly ‘economic’ choices and trade-offs involved in defining and delivery policy for enabling these goals to be achieved and the significant epistemological challenges that they raise for policy-makers. This focus can complement and enrich both post-positivist scholarship and the process and incentives-orientated approaches which predominate in contemporary political science research on coordination in governance. This is briefly illustrated through a short case study evaluating governance for steering markets towards delivering low and zero carbon homes in England.

Keywordsgovernance
coordination
Lindblom
epistemology
complexity
steering
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Journal citation69 (1), pp. 30-42
ISSN1065-9129
Year2016
PublisherSage
Accepted author manuscript
Cover sheet attachedGreenwood_2015_accepted_author_manuscript.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1177/1065912915620048
Publication dates
PublishedMar 2016
Published20 Dec 2015

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