Administrators’ and Elected Officials’ Collaboration Networks: Selecting Partners to Reduce Risk in Economic Development

Published date01 November 2012
Date01 November 2012
S58 Public Administration Review • November | December 2012 • Special Issue
Public Administration Review,
Vol. 72, Iss. S1, pp. S58–S68. © 2012 by
The American Society for Public Administration.
DOI: 10.111/j.1540-6210.2012.02659.x.
Richard C. Feiock is the Augustus B.
Turnbull Professor of Public Administration
at Florida State University. His books
include City–County Consolidation and
Its Alternatives (M. E. Sharpe, 2004);
Metropolitan Governance: Conf‌l ict,
Competition, and Cooperation
(Georgetown University Press, 2004); and
Self-Organizing Federalism (Cambridge
University Press, 2009). His current work
is supported by the National Science
Foundation and the Lincoln Institute for
Land Policy.
In Won Lee (corresponding author) is
assistant professor in the Department of
Public Administration at Dankook University,
South Korea. His research focuses on
urban management and policy, local
public f‌i nance, collaborative governance,
energy and sustainable growth policy,
and interorganizational and intersectoral
management. His work has appeared
in Public Administration Review,
Policy Studies Journal, Urban Affairs
Review, Internal Review of Public
Administration, and other journals.
Hyung Jun Park is associate professor
in the Department of Public Administration
and Graduate School of Governance and
director of the Institute of Governance
and Policy Evaluation at Sungkyunkwan
University, South Korea. His research and
teaching interests are public policy analysis,
collaborative governance, regulatory policy
and institutional design. He has written
articles on collaborative governance,
local economic development policy,
regulatory policy, social network analysis
and institutional collective action. He has
published articles in English and Korean in
Public Administration Review, Urban
Affairs Review, American Review
of Public Administration, and Public
Management Review.
Richard C. Feiock
Florida State University
In Won Lee
Dankook University, South Korea
Hyung Jun Park
Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea
Networks play an important role in collaboration, but
previous work has not examined the dif‌f erent roles of
elected and appointed of‌f‌i cials in these networks.  is
article investigates local economic development policy
networks to address (1) the extent to which the structure
of relationships ref‌l ects the ef‌f orts of actors to ef‌f‌i ciently
collect and process information or to enhance credible
commitment; (2) the extent to which dif‌f erences in incen-
tives and risk aversion lead to dif‌f erences in politicians’
and administrators’ networks; and (3) how similarities
and dif‌f erences between local governments af‌f ect their
network relationships. Exponential random graph analy-
sis of local governments in the Orlando, Florida, metro-
politan area demonstrate that local government actors
forge tightly clustered networks, consistent with the desire
to address commitment problems. Although administra-
tors have more expansive networks, there is little evidence
of dif‌f erences in network patterns for administrators and
elected of‌f‌i cials. Similarity of economic problems and dif-
ferences in population also promotes collaboration.  ese
f‌i ndings are linked to the competitive nature of economic
Networks among both elected of‌f‌i cials and
administrators are crucial to local gover-
nance, but the dif‌f erent roles of elected and
appointed of‌f‌i cials in these networks are not well
illuminated by extant research. Frederickson describes
formal and informal networks
to coordinate services as
populated by local government
To cope with the mismatch
between jurisdictional
boundaries and problems,
public administrators at all
levels of government practice
administrative conjunction.
Administrative conjunction
is best understood as area
wide formal and informal
horizontal and vertical
linkages and patterns of cooperation between
public service professionals representing area
wide jurisdictions. Public administrators
practice conjunction with their professional
counterparts out of a deep understanding that
many public problems can only be dealt with
ef‌f ectively through jurisdictional cooperation,
and out of a strong sense of jurisdictional inter-
dependence. (2002, 5–6)
Other scholars have focused on networks among
elected of‌f‌i cials. For example, Feiock, Steinacker, and
Park (2009) report that mayors’ informal networks
inf‌l uence the formation of joint ventures for economic
development, and Zeemering (2009) examines the
motivations of city council members. Several studies
of metropolitan governance have observed dif‌f er-
ences between elected and appointed of‌f‌i cials in their
propensity to engage in interjurisdictional collabora-
tion, but they do not identify the dif‌f erences in how
administrators and elected of‌f‌i cials structure their net-
work relationships or explain these dif‌f erences (Feiock
2004; Frederickson 1997; Wood 2006). Frederickson
argues that “[p]olitics—campaigns, elections, of‌f‌i ces,
titles—are jurisdictional, autonomous, and only
slightly interdependent. Administration is, by com-
parison, highly interdependent.  is interdependence
has resulted in extensive conjunction and remarkably
organized patterns of self-coop-
eration” (1999, 708). In a study
of the willingness of elected
and administrative of‌f‌i cials to
cooperate on an information
technology innovation, how-
ever, Matkin and Frederickson
(2009) report f‌i ndings that
contradict this thesis, show-
ing that executive of‌f‌i cials are
more inclined to cooperate than
legislative of‌f‌i cials.
In this article, we argue that
both political and administrative
Administrators’ and Elected Of‌f‌i cials’ Collaboration
Networks: Selecting Partners to Reduce Risk
in Economic Development
By linking the dif‌f erent incen-
tives of managers and elected
of‌f‌i cials to specif‌i c network
structures that enhance either
information ef‌f‌i ciency or trust
and commitment, we are able to
test hypotheses about the struc-
ture of collaboration networks
and the choices of partners that
managers and elected of‌f‌i cials

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