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Towards improvisational governance? Jazz improvisation and networked complex governance

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Towards improvisational governance? Jazz improvisation and networked complex governance

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Samenvatting

In the past decades considerable amounts of power have shifted away from national governments. These shifts have occurred upwards, towards international organisations, sideways due to privatisation and the creation of quasi non-governmental organisations and downwards due to decentralisation of power towards lower tiers of government and other public organisations. This shift is characterised by complex networks in which a host of different actors with public responsibilities must work together to create public goods and values. One of the key questions of Public Administration in such systems is how effective governance is organised (Theisens, 2012).
In this context several authors (e.g. Boutellier, 2011) have pointed at improvisation as one of the key elements that make such systems successful. Just as in jazz, where improvisation of interacting highly skilled musicians leads to beautiful and new music, it is suggested that improvisation between highly skilled public actors may lead to new and effective ways to produce public goods and values.
In this paper we built on our research on improvisation as a metaphor for complex governance systems in order to examine and collect a possible set of competences that may help civil servants. The paper explores the essence and process of jazz improvisation. Jazz improvisation itself is associated with simultaneously composing (planned act) and performing (spontaneous act) without the aid of manuscript, sketches or memory (e.g. Barrett, 1998:283; Berliner, 1994:1; Zografos, 2004). Despite this ‘on the spot’ creating improvisation is described to be a structured ‘thing’, which requires a lot of study (Berliner, 1994:63). Considerable knowledge has been gained over time by dissecting improvisation as a process into consistent steps and characteristics (e.g. Hill, 2005; Dennis & Macaulay, 2007). We believe improvisation is an interesting conceptual lens to understand governance in complex networks and potentially a power tool for public sector organisations to act more effectively in highly networked environments.

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OrganisatieDe Haagse Hogeschool
AfdelingFaculteit IT & Design
LectoraatLectoraat Informatie, Technologie en Samenleving
Gepubliceerd inConference Proceedings 7th Euro Mediterranean Dialogue on Public Management Rome, Pagina's: 1-15
Jaar2014
TypeConferentiebijdrage
TaalEngels

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