The literature on network management in the public sector reports positive effects of network activity on agency performance. Current studies show however no differences between specific types of contacts in an agency's environment. The present article adopts an explorative design to study the different types of environmental actors in the networks of nine colleges for nursing studies in the Netherlands. A typology of environmental ties is introduced, and applied to the nine cases. It appears that contacts to different types of actors reflect different levels of ambition in the network management of the colleges. The level of ambition in network management appears to be associated with two indicators for college performance: it is positively associated with diploma rate, and negatively associated with drop-out rates among freshmen. These results are discussed with reference to the current literature in public network management.
- Public management