Panel Paper: Does Performance Information Use Lead to Problem Frame Alignment in Governance Networks?

Thursday, November 7, 2013 : 12:30 PM
3017 Monroe (Washington Marriott)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Manabu Nakashima, University at Albany - SUNY and R. Rethemeyer, State University of New York, Albany
The purpose of this study is to explore the effects of performance information use in governance networks, asking whether and how performance information use contributes to problem frame alignment.

Diverse actors are involved in governance networks so that a broad range of resources and information are drawn upon to address wicked problems (Weber and Khademian 2008).  While the involvement of diverse actors is desirable to tackle wicked problems in terms of resource acquisition, it has a paradoxical effect: It is difficult for diverse actors to develop shared problem frame because they are likely to have different goals, perspectives, and worldviews (Connelly, Zhang, and Faerman 2008; Ospina and Saz-Carranza 2010; Weber and Khademian 2008).  To address complex social problems effectively and efficiently, actors in governance networks need solve the paradox through developing common frame for critical issues they are tackling (Gray 2000; Nowell 2010).  The development of common frame provides a basis of collaborative actions (Bouwen and Taillieu 2004; Gray 2000; Nowell 2010). 

How can actors in governance networks develop shared problem frame?  Since frame alignment can be fostered through social learning (Nowell 2004), performance information is one means for actors in governance networks to develop shared problem frame.  Performance information contributes to social learning by stimulating dialogue among actors (Askim 2004) and by providing a locus of communication (Helbig 2009).  Performance information use leads to social learning when actors examine and interpret performance information in “learning forum” with appropriate characteristics.  For social learning to occur, the actors need have certain relational characteristics such as open, collegial, and unthreatening relationships (Moynihan 2008).  However, since Moynihan (2008) assumes that actors could develop these relational characteristics only within intra-organizational settings, whether performance information use in governance networks leads to social learning is not examined; as a consequence, whether performance information use leads to problem frame alignment in governance networks is not examined.  Effects of performance information in governance networks are understudied (Moynihan et al. 2011).

To bridge the research gaps, this research will ask research questions below:

  1. Whether performance information use in governance networks leads to problem frame alignment?
  2. Under what conditions (i.e., relational characteristics among actors) does performance information use lead to problem frame alignment?

To address the research questions, I will use data from a social service network in Orange County, New York.  By treating performance information use between actors as a tie and also treating similar problem frame between actors as a tie, I will use a stochastic network analysis (ERGMs) to examine how performance information use is related with the problem frame alignment.  This study will review the literature from governance networks as well as performance information use.  Then, it will introduce the data, methods, and procedure, and will show the findings from the network analysis.  Finally, it will draw out implications for how to maximize the effects of performance information use in governance networks.