Collaborative Governance


analyzes an actual case of collaborative governance.

Learning objectives:

Analyze the institutional and stakeholder context of public problems.

Analyze the structure, process, and outcomes of an actual case of collaborative governance, using concepts from the readings, lectures, and class discussion (i.e. governance, social capital, leadership, etc.)

Practice and refine written presentation skills.

Cases should conform to the Ansell and Gash (2008) definition of collaborative governance:

“A governing arrangement where one or more public agencies directly engage non-state stakeholders in a collective decision-making process that is formal, consensus-oriented, and deliberative, and that aims to make or implement public policy or manage public programs or assets. This definition stresses six important criteria: (1) the forum is initiated by public agencies or institutions, (2) participants in the forum include non-state actors, (3) participants engage directly in decision making and are not merely ‘‘consulted’’ by public agencies, (4) the forum is formally organized and meets collectively, (5) the forum aims to make decisions by consensus (even if consensus is not achieved in practice), and (6) the focus of collaboration is on public policy or public management.”

Ansell, Chris and Alison Gash (2008) “Collaborative Governance in Theory and Practice.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 18: 544-545


Approximately 8-10 pages, double-spaced, plus references, figures, etc.

The paper should use headings. Feel free to follow I through V specified in the grading rubric or your own

Refer to grading rubric on following pages as suggestions

Use one citation methodology (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.)

Be Scholarly

Source material:

Information for the case must be gleaned from at least two independent sources. Ideally, one of these should be a published article, report, or book chapter. See your me if you want an exception to this rule to work on a case that hasn’t been studied before. Examples of other sources include online information about the case (e.g. meeting minutes), and/or original interviews. Some of these groups get inundated with requests for information and surveys, so please check with me before contacting groups directly.

Rubric for Individual memorandum Paper

Superior: Raises especially insightful questions, with or without solutions. Integrates material from readings, lectures, or outside materials. Suggests novel or innovative ways of approaching the topic, and supports these ideas with empirical evidence, examples, and/or explanations.

Proficient: Fully addresses each required component. Provides insightful analysis evidencing knowledge of key concepts or facts.

Not Proficient: Minimally addresses the required components or fails to address some components.  Offers straightforward or obvious analysis. Betrays a misunderstanding of key concepts or facts. Summarizes information without elaboration, analysis, or critique.

Incomplete: Fails to address required components, or incoherent.






I. Collaborative History and Purpose

To the extent feasible based on available sources, address as many numbered topics as you can.

1.How did the Collaborative get started?

2.What policy problem or catalyzing event was the collaborative formed to address?

3.What was the political landscape like at the inception of the partnership (e.g., hurting stalemate)?

4.Was there a formal convening agency?

5.Were there individual people who played a key entrepreneurial role to initiate the Collaborative?

II. Collaborative Structure and Process

To the extent feasible based on available sources, address as many numbered topics as you can.

1.What’s the geographic scope of the Collaborative?

2.What’s the meeting frequency?   How do you meet (e.g., in-person, phone)?

3.About how many people attend a typical meeting? 

4.Who participates?

5.How do people become members of the collaborative?

6.Has there been any turnover in participants? If so, why? Did anyone join the process late? Did anyone leave early?

7.Are any important parties NOT involved?  If so, why?

8.How is the Collaborative funded? Is there a sponsor who pays for facilitation or meeting expenses)? How much funding since inception ?

9.What is the organizational structure of the Collaborative?  Are their formal positions? What’s the relationship between governmental and non-governmental participants?

10.Is there a facilitator or a coordinator? What does each do?

11.Is there an MOU, bylaws, or other sort of organizational charter?

12.How are decisions made within the group? If consensus, how is it defined?

13.Are there major issues the collaborative has chosen not to address? Why?

III. Outputs and Outcomes

To the extent feasible based on available sources, address as many numbered topics as you can.

1.Has the Collaborative produced any policy statements or recommendations? 

2.If so, was the policy adopted by the target audience? Was the policy implemented? Would this have happened without the Collaborative?

3.Has the Collaborative produced any research products? For example, have the members agreed upon data or knowledge gaps likely to affect the group’s ability to achieve its objectives?  Have the members agreed upon a study or research design to answer questions identified by the members? Have the members implemented a study commissioned by the group?

4.Has the Collaborative produced any changes in social capital, trust, working relationships, culture, etc?

5.Was  the Collaborative positive (or negative) on the policy issues it seeks to address?  Is it successful?

6.Any other tangible or intangible outputs or outcomes?

IV. Analysis

Address all five questions, drawing upon the readings, guest lectures, and/or class discussion.

1.How is this collaborative similar to or different from the definitions in the literature?  What core aspects of collaborative policy are present or absent in this case?

2.What would you say have been the Collaborative’s greatest accomplishments to date?

3.What appear to be the most important reasons for the Collaborative’s successes to date?

4.What would you say have been the Collaborative’s greatest shortcomings to date?

5.What have been the greatest obstacles to success?

V. References

1.Does the paper cite data/information from at least two (preferably three or more) independent sources?  (Examples include a published article, report, book chapter, case website, meeting minutes, original interview.)  See the instructor if you need an exemption from this requirement.  

2.Does it cite other works appropriately, and include a list of references in APA or MLA style? 

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