The Emergence of Collaborations

Wouter A.H. Spekkink*, Frank A. A. Boons

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the literature on collaborative governance, it is often assumed that collaborative capacity (i.e., the ability of actors to coordinate their activities around public issues in a collaborative fashion) is primarily generated during the collaborative process itself. In this article, we show that collaborative capacity can already emerge before the start of collaborations, in the form of a common ground and the bridging position that some actors attain through their involvement in different projects that build up to the collaboration. We introduce a conceptual framework that captures these dimensions of collaborative capacity, and we present findings on two case studies to test several propositions, using an approach called event sequence analysis. We find that in both cases a common ground develops before the start of collaborations and influences the aims that are chosen during the collaborations themselves. We also find that actors that attain a bridging position before the collaboration play an important role in assembling building blocks for collaboration together. Our findings have relevance primarily for regional collaborations that involve large numbers of professional organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-630
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'The Emergence of Collaborations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this