Networks in Public Administration: Current scholarship in review

Jesse D. Lecy, Ines A. Mergel, Hans Peter Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Network-focused research in public administration has expanded rapidly over the past two decades. This rapid growth has created come confusion about terminology and approaches to research in the field. We organize the network literature in public administration using compact citation networks to identify coherent subdomains focused on (1) policy formation, (2) governance and (3) policy implementation. We trace how these domains differ in their approach to defining the role of networks, relationships and actors and to what extent the articles apply formal network analysis techniques. Based on a subsequent content analysis of the sample articles, we identify promising research avenues focused on the wider adoption of methods derived from social network analysis and the conditions under which networks actually deliver improved results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-665
Number of pages23
JournalPublic Management Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Network research in public administration
  • citation analysis
  • governance
  • policy networks
  • snowball sampling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration


Dive into the research topics of 'Networks in Public Administration: Current scholarship in review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this