CiteWeb id: 19960000128

CiteWeb score: 4181

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9248.1996.tb01747.x

The term ’governance‘ is popular but imprecise. It has at least six uses, referring to: the minimal state; corporate governance: the new public management; ‘good governance’: socio-cybernetic systems: and self-organizing networks. I stipulate that governance refers to ’self-organizing. interorganizational networks’ and argue these networks complement markets and hierarchies as governing structures for authoritatively allocating resources and exercising control and co-ordination. I defend this definition, arguing that it throws new light on recent changes in British government, most notably: hollowing out the state. the new public management. and intergovernmental manage-ment. 1 conclude that networks are now a pervasive feature of service delivery in Britain: that such networks are characterized by trust and mutual adjustment and undermine management reforms rooted in competition: and that they are a challenge to governability because they become autonomous and resist central guidancc. Over the past fifteen years vogue words and phrases for reforming the public sector have come and gone. ‘Rayner‘s Raiders’ and the ‘3Es’ of economy, efficiency and effectiveness gave way to the ’new public management’ and ‘entrepreneurial government’. This paper focuses on one of these words goverriance. It is widely used, supplanting the commonplace ‘government’. but does it have a distinct meaning? What is it supposed to tell us about the challenges facing British government? Unfortunately, even the most cursory inspection reveals that ‘governance’ has several distinct meanings. A baseline definition is essential, therefore, and where else to look other than a textbook. Sammy Finer defines government as: a ‘the activity or process of governing‘ or ‘governance’, ‘a condition of ordered rule’. ‘those people charged with the duty of governing’ or ‘governors’, and ‘the manner, method or system by which a particular society is governed’.‘

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