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Explaining Cooperation: How Resource Interdependence, Goal Congruence, and Trust Affect Joint Actions in Policy Implementation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2007 (English)In: Journal of public administration research and theory, ISSN 1053-1858, E-ISSN 1477-9803, Vol. 17, no 4, 651-672 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A perennial problem when political decisions are to be implemented is how to make authorities work together. Previous research shows that resource interdependence, goal congruence, and mutual trust increase interorganizational cooperation. in this article, it is argued that interaction effects must also be considered in order to fully understand how these variables affect cooperation. The study is based on 203 dyads of Swedish Public Employment Service offices and municipalities in 2003. I find that mutual trust is necessary if goal congruence is to increase cooperation between these agencies. Furthermore, mutual trust only has a positive effect if organizations have similar objectives. However, trust is not required for resource interdependence to affect cooperation, and the effect of trust is not dependent on the organizations' mutual dependence. The results imply that trust and goal congruence must exist simultaneously in order to promote joint actions. Thus, if a management strategy aimed at increasing cooperation only focuses on the organizations' objectives or the level of trust between them, it will fail. An important lesson for future research is that including interaction terms in the analysis improves our understanding of interorganizational cooperation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 17, no 4, 651-672 p.
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-95966DOI: 10.1093/jopart/mul025ISI: 000249763500007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-95966DiVA: diva2:170361
Available from: 2007-05-16 Created: 2007-05-16 Last updated: 2011-01-21Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Conditions for Multi-Level Governance: Implementation, Politics, and Cooperation in Swedish Active Labor Market Policy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Conditions for Multi-Level Governance: Implementation, Politics, and Cooperation in Swedish Active Labor Market Policy
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

How can the central state direct local public units to work effectively towards public sector goals? In an effort to understand the conditions for governance, the three self-contained essays housed in this thesis examine the role of central and local government agencies in implementation of active labor market policy (ALMP) in Sweden. The study is based on new and unique quantitative data.

To understand steering possibilities, it is necessary to examine how local politics impinges on local actions. Thus, essay I concerns the following question: Does it matter for local government actions whether left wing or right wing parties govern at local level? I propose that the effect of political partisanship depend on entity size. I expect left-wing governments to be more engaged in ALMPs, but that the impact will be larger in sizeable entities. Empirical evidence supports the theoretical priors.

It is also important to know how actors can be coordinated. Thus, essay II tries to explain cooperation between agencies. Trust, goal congruence, and resource interdependence are focused upon. The results indicate that there is no impact of trust on cooperation if goals diverge. Similarly, it does not matter that agencies trust one another if they have different agendas. But if both factors exist simultaneously, cooperation increases. On the other hand, resource interdependence boosts cooperation regardless of trust levels.

But does cooperation really improve policy implementation? Essay III proposes that the impact is contingent on task complexity. I expect cooperation to be more valuable when the task is complex. In accordance with this hypothesis, the evidence suggests that only complex tasks can be carried out better through intense interorganizational cooperation.

Taken together, the insights from the essays might help us find routes to better governance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Statsvetenskapliga institutionen, 2007. 47 p.
Political science, Governance, Intergovernmental relations, Implementation, Cooperation, Political parties, Active labor market policy, Sweden, Statsvetenskap
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-7916 (URN)978-91-506-1939-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-06-08, Brusewitzsalen, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen, Gamla Torget 6, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2007-05-16 Created: 2007-05-16Bibliographically approved

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