GAO and Interagency Collaboration

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Steve Richardson 8 years, 12 months ago.

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  • #170170

    Henry Brown

    Title:Key Considerations for Implementing Interagency Collaborative Mechanisms
    What GAO found
    Federal agencies have used a variety of mechanisms to implement interagency collaborative efforts, such as the President appointing a coordinator, agencies co-locating within one facility, or establishing interagency task forces. These mechanisms can be used to address a range of purposes including policy development; program implementation; oversight and monitoring; information sharing and communication; and building organizational capacity, such as staffing and training. Frequently, agencies use more than one mechanism to address an issue. For example, climate change is a complex, crosscutting issue, which involves many collaborative mechanisms in the Executive Office of the President and interagency groups throughout government.

    Although collaborative mechanisms differ in complexity and scope, they all benefit from certain key features, which raise issues to consider when implementing these mechanisms. For example:

    Outcomes and Accountability: Have short-term and long-term outcomes been clearly defined? Is there a way to track and monitor their progress?

    Bridging Organizational Cultures: What are the missions and organizational cultures of the participating agencies? Have agencies agreed on common terminology and definitions?

    Leadership: How will leadership be sustained over the long-term? If leadership is shared, have roles and responsibilities been clearly identified and agreed upon?

    Clarity of Roles and Responsibilities: Have participating agencies clarified roles and responsibilities?

    Participants: Have all relevant participants been included? Do they have the ability to commit resources for their agency?

    Resources: How will the collaborative mechanism be funded and staffed? Have online collaboration tools been developed?

    Written Guidance and Agreements: If appropriate, have participating agencies documented their agreement regarding how they will be collaborating? Have they developed ways to continually update and monitor these agreements?


  • #170176

    Steve Richardson

    Thanks, Henry. I just read “Collaborative Public Management:Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?,” by O’Leary and Vij, which was posted by John Kamensky on his Business of Government blog. This article includes a survey of scholarly literature and in my view more insight than the GAO report.

  • #170173

    Henry Brown

    For those who can’t access Scribd

    here is the document:

    Title: Collaborative Public Management: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?


    This article analyzes where we have been in collaborative public management research and practice by focusing on the most important issues, concepts and ideas in the literature today. The issues, concepts and ideas are: (1) competing definitions of collaboration; (2) changes in the environment of public management that have encouraged the growth of collaborative public management; (3) “thinking DaVinci” – lateral thinking and interdisciplinarity; (4) the management challenges of working in networks; (5) the paradox of balancing autonomy and interdependence; (6) factors to consider before collaborating; (7) the importance of the individual; (8) the shifting leadership challenge; (9) weaknesses in collaborative public management research; and (10) the missing link between theory and practice. The authors conclude that the study and practice of collaborative public management is generally fragmented with low level of consensus. From a research perspective, it is a low paradigm field. The authors close with a view to the future. To advance the study and practice of collaborative public management the authors urge (1) agreement on definitions of commonly used terms, beginning with the term “collaboration;” (2) agreement on pressing collaborative public management challenges and substantive research and practice questions; (3) more precise theoretical models of behavior; and (4) agreement on the measurement of relevant variables.

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