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The intermediary role of transnational municipal networks in governance by diffusion
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9509-8271
2015 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper examines the role of Transnational Municipal Networks (TMNs) in processes of “governance by diffusion” (Hakelberg, 2014; Feldman, 2012; Román, 2010). Feldman (2012) suggests the “three vital functions” of TMNs are knowledge creation and diffusion; policy evaluation; and enabling local action. In a similar vein, Bouteligier (2013) categorises the main services of TMNs as knowledge transfer; capacity-building; and representation. A typical function of TMNs is thus to facilitate understanding and integration of “outside-in” influences, whilst supporting members in their “inside-out” actions (Porter and Reinhardt, 2008); that is, to provide services that enhance the quality of processes within member municipal organisations, whilst increasing members’ access to and awareness of relevant generic or specific practices of other municipalities, thereby enabling members to think and work “beyond city limits” (Seitzinger et al., 2012).In many instances, TMNs act as intermediaries in wider processes of knowledge transfer, translating or adapting experiences from one context to another (Fenton, 2014a; Hamann and April, 2012). Literature from the field of organisational studies provides further insights into this role (see e.g. Langstrand, 2012; Lillrank 1995), as does recent literature on benchmarking and interorganisational learning in local government (Ammons and Roenigk, 2015). However, whilst there is considerable focus on the type of translation process (i.e. its intended purpose and focus), its nature as explicit or tacit knowledge, and the “translatability” of practices (Røvik, 2007; see also Langstrand, 2012; Lillrank, 1995), less attention has been paid to those factors influencing actors during translation. Fenton (2014b) introduces five factors informing and supporting strategic planning processes for urban sustainability in municipalities. This paper questions if and how this conceptual framework may contribute to supporting the role of TMNs in their role during processes of translation and “governance by diffusion”.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Transnational municipal networks; sustainable development; knowledge
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-119492OAI: diva2:823598
27th Ph.D. Workshop on International Climate Policy, Berlin

This paper is an early draft of a journal submission planned for autumn 2015. At this stage, the paper presents several themes yet - as it is a draft - there are significant gaps in the analysis. Much work remains and the author welcomes comments, feedback and proposals on how to improve the structure and coherence of the analysis, as well as suggestions for supporting literature.

Available from: 2015-06-18 Created: 2015-06-18 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved

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Fenton, Paul David
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Environmental Technology and ManagementFaculty of Science & Engineering
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ReferencesLink to record
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