Nederhand, Martine José (2019). The governance of self-organization: Analyzing the governance relationship between municipalities and community-based collectives. Doctoral thesis (Public Administration), Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. (doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.13424.61447)

Abstract: This dissertation focuses on the governance of self-organization – a topic that has increasingly received political and societal attention for its important role in upholding affordable and effective community services. Although the importance of community-based collectives, as a form of self-organization, has been widely acknowledged by governments, research has shown that many collectives in reality function with difficulty. To date, there has been a lack of systematic insight into preferred and effective governance strategies of municipalities to support community-based collectives. This lack of knowledge is problematic as governance efforts are essential to safeguard the development and performance of community-based collectives in today’s highly institutionalized and regularized society. In response to this gap, this dissertation uses a mixed-methods design to investigate the dynamics surrounding the governance of self-organization in the Dutch welfare sector by combining governance and institutional theory with detailed empirical analysis. The conclusions of this dissertation point to a new form of public governance where the government not only gives space, but also actively facilitates the self-governing capacities of community-based collectives. This dissertation demonstrates that despite dominant academic and practitioner’s preferences, the governance of self-organization not only involves ‘soft’ processual strategies, but also requires ‘hard’ institutional governance strategies to safeguard the performance of community-based collectives. As such, this dissertation opens the way for a better understanding of the governance of self-organization, by demonstrating the importance of hierarchy, power, and politics.

José Nederhand <> is at the Department of Public Administration and Sociology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

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