An integrative framework for collaborative governance

Kirk Emerson, Tina Nabatchi, Stephen Balogh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1745 Scopus citations


Collaborative governance draws from diverse realms of practice and research in public administration. This article synthesizes and extends a suite of conceptual frameworks, research findings, and practice-based knowledge into an integrative framework for collaborative governance. The framework specifies a set of nested dimensions that encompass a larger system context, a collaborative governance regime, and its internal collaborative dynamics and actions that can generate impacts and adaptations across the systems. The framework provides a broad conceptual map for situating and exploring components of cross-boundary governance systems that range from policy or program-based intergovernmental cooperation to place-based regional collaboration with nongovernmental stakeholders to public-private partnerships. The framework integrates knowledge about individual incentives and barriers to collection action, collaborative social learning and conflict resolution processes, and institutional arrangements for cross-boundary collaboration. It is presented as a general framework that might be applied to analyses at different scales, in different policy arenas, and varying levels of complexity. The article also offers 10 propositions about the dynamic interactions among components within the framework and concludes with a discussion about the implications of the framework for theory, research, evaluation, and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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