Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future

WP5: Coordinating social cohesion


The governance of social cohesion: innovative coordination practices in public management

Work package related outputs:

WP5 resulted in four main deliverables:

  • An online community of practice: The community of practice launched in cooperation with the International Institute of Administrative Sciences ( is a virtual solution giving practitioners the opportunity to read case study examples of coordination instruments, to comment on them, to ask questions and respond to the general discussion on topics related to coordination within the public sector (click here).
  • A case study catalogue: The case study catalogue is a set of 22 novel coordination practices identified and analysed by the WP5 partners that feeds into the community of practice (click here).
  • A research report: The research report gives an overview of the conceptual framework of WP 5, introduces its empirical sources and methods and summarizes the main findings and their policy implications (click here).
  • A policy brief: The practitioner-oriented policy brief summarizes the main policy lessons emerging from WP5 (click here).


  • To search and identify innovative coordination practices and related steering instruments in public management in European public sectors;
  • To compile a good practice database and case study catalogue of such coordination practices with direct utility to public managers and the research community;
  • To analyse the functioning of such coordination practices and to assess their value in countering public sector fragmentation and delivering public value.

Work description

In recent years, coordination problems have been at the centre of reform efforts in European public sectors. Governments have developed new approaches intended to solve ‘wicked problems’ in society and counter the fragmentation brought about by New Public Management reforms. In WP5 (April 2012 – May 2013) the focus was on such post-NPM instruments to enhance integration and crosscutting capacity of the governments in order to achieve social cohesion. WP5 aimed to:

  1. Identify, describe, classify and categorize innovative coordination practices in public management;
  2. Explain constraining and enabling factors for such instruments to work through assessing the process and actors involved; and
  3. Identify the perceived effects of the different tools and instruments.

WP5 looked at coordination in a broad sense, encompassing coordination of policy design, policy implementation and management. The purpose was to study both horizontal coordination (within levels of government, between ministerial areas) and vertical coordination (between levels of government, within ministerial areas. The focus was on positive coordination, meaning coordination that purposively aimed at building coherence. The analysis draw on two main sources – the cross-sectional questionnaire to executives in ten European countries conducted within WP3 and a collection of short case studies of emerging coordination arrangements in 11 European countries assembled to the case study catalogue.

The workplan of WP5 can be accessed here.

Work package related output

Academic publications


Cucciniello, M., Guerrazzi, C., Nasi, G. & Ongaro, E. (forthcoming). Coordination Mechanisms for implementing complex innovations in the healthcare sector. Public Management Review.

Curry, D. (forthcoming). Network Approaches to Multi-Level Governance: Understanding Power Between Levels. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Lægreid, P., Rykkja, L.H. & Christensen, T. (forthcoming). The Challenges of Coordination in National Security Management – the Case of the Terrorist Attack in Norway. International Review of Administrative Sciences.

Lægreid, P. & Wise, L.R. (forthcoming). Reforming Human Resource Management in Civil Service Systems: Robustness and Flexibility. In F. van der Meer, T. Toonen & J. Raadschelders (eds), Comparative Civil Service Systems in the 21st Century. Houndmills: Palgrave.

Lember, V. and K. Sarapuu. (forthcoming). ‘Coordinating Emergency Medical Service in Estonia’. In P. Lagreid, T. Randma-Liiv, L. H. Rykkja, K. Sarapuu (eds.), Organizing for Coordination in the Public Sector. Practices and Lessons from 12 European Countries. Palgrave.

Randma-Liiv, T., Uudelepp, A. & Sarapuu, K. (forthcoming). From network to hierarchy: the evolution of the Estonian Senior Civil Service Development System. International Review of Administrative Sciences.

Tammel, K. and R. Raudla (forthcoming). ‘Consolidation of Support Services in Estonia”. In P. Lagreid, T. Randma-Liiv, L. H. Rykkja, K. Sarapuu (eds.), Organizing for Coordination in the Public Sector. Practices and Lessons from 12 European Countries. Palgrave.

Uudelepp, A., Randma-Liiv, T. and K. Sarapuu (forthcoming). ’The Establishment of the Estonian Top Civil Service Development System’. In P. Lagreid, T. Randma-Liiv, L. H. Rykkja, K. Sarapuu (eds). Organizing for Coordination in the Public Sector. Practices and Lessons from 12 European Countries. Palgrave.


Lægreid, P., Fimreite, A.L. & Christensen, T. (2013). Joined-Up Government for Welfare Administration Reform in Norway. Public Organization Review.

Lægreid, P., Rykkja L.H. & Christensen, T. (2013). After a Terrorist Attack: Challenges for Political and Administrative Leadership in Norway. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 21 (3): 167-177open-access-version

Lægreid, P. & Christensen, T. (2013). Welfare administration reform between coordination and specialization. International Journal of Public Administration, 36: 555-566.

Dan, S. & Savi, R. (2013). Payment systems and incentives in primary care: Implications of recent reforms in Estonia and Romania. International Journal of Health Planning and Management, Online first.

Lægreid, P., Christensen, D.A., Christensen, T. & Midtbø, T. (2013). The People and Structure Solution. Collegial Administration in Norway. In J.O’Flynn, D. Blackman & J. Halligan (eds.), Crossing Boundaries in Public Management and Policy, London: Routledge.


Andrews, R. (2012). Labour Migration, Communities and Perceptions of Social Cohesion in England. European Urban and Regional Studies, online first. open-access-version


Van de Walle, S. & Groeneveld, S. (eds) (2011). New Steering Concepts in Public Management, 21 (Research in Public Policy Analysis and Management). Bingley: Emerald.

Further academic publications can be accessed here.

COCOPS research reports, working papers and policy briefs

The Governance of Social Cohesion: Innovative Coordination Practices in Public Management, COCOPS Research Report (2013, P. Lægreid, T. Randma-Liiv, L.H. Rykkja & K. Sarapuu).

Lessons from Emerging Coordination Arrangements in European Public Sectors, COCOPS Policy Brief 3 (2013, Lægreid, P., Randma-Liiv, T., Rykkja, L.H. & Sarapuu, K.).

The Quality of Coordination in Norwegian Central Government: The importance of coordination arrangements and structural, cultural and demographic factors, COCOPS Working Paper No. 14 (2013, Lægreid, P., Nordø, Å.D. & Rykkja, L.H.).

Can shared performance targets help co-ordinate public organisations? Rational control and organisational politics in UK Government cross-cutting Public Service Agreements, COCOPS Working Paper No. 13 (2013, Oliver James & Ayako Nakamura).

Wicked Problems and the Challenge of Transboundary Coordination: The Case of Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management in Norway, COCOPS Working Paper No. 11 (2013, Christensen, T., Lægreid, P. & Rykkja, L.H.).

How to cope with a Terrorist Attack? – A Challenge for the Political and Administrative Leadership, COCOPS Working Paper No. 6 (2012, Christensen, T. Lægreid, P. & Rykkja, L.H.).

Welfare Reform and ‘Wicked Issues’ – From Coupling to De-Coupling?, COCOPS Working Paper No. 5 (2012, Christensen, T. & Lægreid, P.).


Work package leader:

Per Lægreid
University of Bergen
Department of Administration and Organization Theory

This page has been modified on 28 July 2011