Treating networks seriously: Practical and research-based agendas in public administration

Laurence J. O'Toole

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How well equipped are today's public administrators to face the challenges they confront from the involvement of businesses, not-for-profits, other units of government, and even clients in complex patterns of program operations? Not very well, if judged by the extent to which practitioners and scholars have incorporated the network concept and its implications into their own work. Discussions in the field contain little to help practicing managers cope with network settings. In fact, conventional theory may actually be counterproductive when applied inappropriately to network contexts. And yet, these arrays are now consequential and becoming increasingly so. Practitioners need to begin to incorporate the network concept into their administrative efforts. The challenge for scholars is to conduct research that illuminates this neglected aspect of contemporary administration. The author sketches a set of agendas that offer prospects for helping to address this need.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages7
JournalPublic administration review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • METIS-100209
  • IR-1662

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