topical references

articles, books, websites and other publications on relational governance

coproductive governance - relational process.pdf

Carina Wyborn

Co-productive governance:

A relational framework for adaptive governance


Adaptive governance focuses our attention on the relationships between science and management, whereby the so-called ‘gaps’ between these groups are seen to hinder effective adaptive responses to biophysical change. Yet the relationships between science and governance, knowledge and action, remain under theorized in discussions of adaptive governance, which largely focuses on abstract design principles or preferred institutional arrangements. In contrast, the metaphor of co-production highlights the social and political processes through which science, policy, and practice co-evolve. Co-production is invoked as a normative goal (Mitchell et al., 2004) and analytical lens (Jasanoff, 2004a,b), both of which provide useful insight into the processes underpinning adaptive governance. This paper builds on and integrates these disparate views to reconceptualize adaptive governance as a process of co-production. I outline an alternative conceptual framing, ‘co-productive governance’, that articulates the context, knowledge, process, and vision of governance.


Heimberg, Ness, Storch

Co-Creation of Public Values:

Citizenship, Social Justice, and Well-Being


Well-being is of vital importance for individuals as well as society at large. UNs Sustainability Goal #17, ‘Partnership for the Goals’, support co-creation and co-production as necessary approaches to reach public values such as citizenship, social justice, and well-being. However, co-creation and co- production is not enough. It is necessary to address who participates in co-creation, how they participate, and how participation affects outcomes. Inclusive participation in everyday life, public services, and democracy is crucial to achieve active citizenship and well-being for all. This chapter will discuss how voices of citizens in marginalized and vulnerable life situations needs to be included and recognized in democracy and public sector practices as well as in decision-making processes. The chapter suggests how public sector organisations can promote active citizenship, valued social roles, and well-being through participation in co-creation of public values, placing well-being for all and social justice at the forefront of public value co-creation.


Liena Kano

Global value chain governance:

A relational perspective


Global value chain (GVC) governance is an established field within international business research, yet the relational aspects of GVCs have, to date, garnered less scholarly attention than have efficiency considerations. This conceptual study’s objective is to explore the relational dynamics of GVC governance using an internalization theory perspective, and by linking GVC research with insights from the business network literature. GVCs are argued to be a distinct form of asymmetrical networks, associated with economizing and capability creation features, as well as costs. The orchestrating firm can thus enhance efficiency outcomes of the GVC using social mechanisms similar to those adopted by core actors in a business network. In the study, six such mechanisms were identified: (1) selectivity, (2) inclusion of non-business intermediaries, (3) joint strategizing, (4) relational capital, (5) multilateral feedback, and (6) rules for equitable value distribution. While safeguarding the GVC’s efficiency, the above social mechanisms are associated with challenges and limitations, and therefore do not guarantee international competitive success. However, deployed in an integrative fashion, these social mechanisms facilitate coordination (thus economizing on bounded rationality), reduce the hazards of imperfect effort by partners (thus economizing on bounded reliability), and foster innovation and new capability development.

Pérezts2020_Relational approach to values-driven leadership.pdf

Perezts, Russon, Painter

This Time from Africa:

Developing a Relational Approach to Values‑Driven Leadership


The importance of relationality in ethical leadership has been the focus of recent attention in business ethics scholarship. However, this relational component has not been sufciently theorized from diferent philosophical perspectives, allowing specifc Western philosophical conceptions to dominate the leadership development literature. This paper ofers a theoreti cal analysis of the relational ontology that informs various conceptualizations of selfhood from both African and Western philosophical traditions and unpacks its implications for values-driven leadership. We aim to broaden Western conceptions of leadership development by drawing on twentieth century European philosophy’s insights on relationality, but more importantly, to show how African philosophical traditions precede this literature in its insistence on a relational ontology of the self. To illustrate our theoretical argument, we refect on an executive education course called values-driven leader ship into action, which ran in South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt in 2016, 2017, and 2018. We highlight an African-inspired employment of relationality through its use of the ME-WE-WORLD framework, articulating its theoretical assumptions with embodied experiential learning.

Relational governance in rhetoric and reality explanations and problems of China s Belt and Road Initiative from the relational perspective.pdf

Zhaohui Wang & Hong Zhao

Zhaohui Wang & Hong Zhao (2021) Relational governance in rhetoric and reality: explanations and problems of China’s Belt and Road Initiative from the relational perspective.

Globalizations, 18:4, 650-666

DOI: 10.1080/14747731.2020.1832838

To link to this article:


IPPR. Institute for Public Policy Research

Cooke and Muir [editors]

How recognizing the importance of human relationships could revolutionize the role of the state.

The purpose of this collection is to begin to fill this political space by introducing the idea of the ‘relational state’ – a new intellectual and political perspective on statecraft and the public services. It explores how the ideas underpinning the relational state could help to reframe centre-left goals and provide a guide to policy and action ... the clear focus is on what sort of governing model is best suited to the needs and spirit of the country.


Ansell & Gash

Collaborative Governance in Theory and Practice


Over the past few decades, a new form of governance has emerged to replace adversarial and managerial modes of policy making and implementation. Collaborative governance, as it has come to be known, brings public and private stakeholders together in collective forums with public agencies to engage in consensus-oriented decision making. In this article, we conduct a meta-analytical study of the existing literature on collaborative governance with the goal of elaborating a contingency model of collaborative governance. After review ing 137 cases of collaborative governance across a range of policy sectors, we identify critical variables that will influence whether or not this mode of governance will produce successful collaboration. These variables include the prior history of conflict or cooperation, the incentives for stakeholders to participate, power and resources imbalances, leadership, and institutional design. We also identify a series of factors that are crucial within the collaborative process itself. These factors include face-to-face dialogue, trust building, and the development of commitment and shared understanding. We found that a virtuous cycle of collaboration tends to develop when collaborative forums focus on ‘‘small wins’’ that deepen trust, commitment, and shared understanding. The article concludes with a discus sion of the implications of our contingency model for practitioners and for future research on collaborative governance.

Jackson&Nexon1999_Relations Before States.pdf

Jackson & Nexon

Relations Before States: Substance, Process and the Study of World Politics


In recent years, paradigmatic debates in International Relations (IR) have focused on questions of epistemology and methodology. While important in their own right, these differences have obscured the basic divide in the discipline between substantialism, which takes entities as primitives, and relationalism, which takes processes of social transaction as the basic building blocks of theory. We argue that while both approaches can be fruitful, theories of processes and relations are better suited to address certain questions, most notably those involving change in global politics. Drawing on work in International Relations, sociology and philosophy, we examine what such theories entail and discuss areas of research for which they are especially suited.

A processual relationalism [P/R] approach has much to offer the discipline of International Relations in its study of global politics. Although aspects of relational thinking may seem counter-intuitive at first, we believe that this mode of analysis is better suited to asking and answering some of the most pressing questions of our time than its substantialist alternative. In this article, we have attempted to illustrate the productivity of the approach; the next step is to apply relational insights in a more systematic and explicit way to particular phenomena.

McCourt2016_Practice Theory and Relationalism as the New Constructivism.pdf


Practice Theory and Relationalism as the New Constructivism


In this theory note, I address two new approaches in international relations theory gaining adherents and producing in sightful applications: practice theory and relationalism. Practice theory draws attention to everyday logics in world politics. It stresses how international actors are driven less by abstract notions of the national interest, identities, or preferences than by context-dependent practical imperatives. Relationalism rejects the idea that entities—like states and international organizations—are the basic units of world politics. It replaces them with a focus on ongoing processes. Noting similarities in their arguments to those advanced by early constructivists, I argue that, taken together, practice theory and relationalism represent the New Constructivism in International Relations (IR). A practice–relational turn became necessary because the meaning of constructivism narrowed over time, becoming tied to a specific scientific ontology focusing on the role of identity, norms, and culture in world politics. This ontology unduly narrowed constructivism’s theoretical lenses, which practice theory and relationalism productively reopen.


Gagnon & Brodeur

Relational Ecosystem for Peace


In this chapter, we present an overview of a comprehensive approach to peacebuilding called Relational Ecosystem for Peace (REP). It aims to facilitate the creation of a culture of peace in any social environment, adopting the following UN definition for a culture of peace: a set of values, attitudes, modes of behaviours and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations. Underlying causes of conflicts such as wounds, trauma, and suffering as well as ignorance and intolerance, are addressed in the REP approach at both the personal and collective levels. All of which may be the result of generations of transmitted dysfunctions and misinformation. Through the REP approach, people become aware of what breeds violence, in themselves as well as in the world, and learn how it can be prevented and transformed through a series of dialogical values, attitudes, and behaviours. From an interdisciplinary approach that includes the notion of well-being linked to the health sciences, positive peace in conflict transformation within the social sciences, and spirituality in the humanities, the REP approach suggests how to choose radical respect consciously, as opposed to radical violence.

2021 Heimburg and Ness Relational Welfare.pdf

Dina Von Heimburg & Ottar Ness

Relational welfare: a socially just response to co-creating health and wellbeing for all


Aims: Contemporary approaches to pursuing public value and the vision of health and wellbeing for all have evolved notably in the past few decades, with distinct approaches termed ‘co-creation’ and ‘health promotion’ gaining traction.

This article explores a critique of ongoing paradigmatic shifts in public health and the public sector, focusing on crossfertilisation between co-creation and the promotion of health and wellbeing. Drawing on Nancy Fraser’s claims for social justice through redistribution, recognition and representation to achieve participatory parity, we discuss a need for transformative change to achieve societal goals of creating health and wellbeing for all, leaving no one behind.

Conclusions: Health promotion and co-creation converge in a quest for active citizenship through participation, as well as embracing a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach. However, inequity in such processes, as well as health and wellbeing outcomes, are still persistent and contradictory to health promotion aims. This article argues that radically attending to human relationships and our dependency on other humans as a ‘collective’ need to be placed at the core of future-forming social construction of public and democratic institutions to allow the ongoing cross-fertilisation between health promotion and co-creation to work. Responding to this calls for transformation, the article presents a framework for developing a relational approach to welfare. The framework advocates for ‘relational welfare’, which captures the intersection of the welfare state, democracy and human relationships attending to social justice, capabilities and health and wellbeing for all as key public values in societal development.

Keywords: Health promotion, co-creation, health equity, human rights, social justice, participatory parity, relational welfare, public value, sustainable development

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