Participatory governance in the networks of stakeholders: Expression of collective identity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose — The main issue of stakeholders’ inclusion nowadays is the establishment of relationships between policy actors and creation of a supportive environment for stakeholder participation to allow a straight-forward stakeholder inclusion with a meaningful contribution to policy making. The concept of a collective identity describing how shared values, shared activities and a shared identity lead to social cohesion between a large number of people, could suggest a hint for stakeholder empowerment. We argue that a proper inclusion leads towards empowerment of stakeholders only where efforts to build collective identity are allocated. Otherwise, stakeholder inclusion is only about static participatory governance where knowledge collection predominates over knowledge sharing and co-production. The goal of the present chapter is to trace formal governance networks as a participatory governance mechanism and analyse stakeholder perspectives to be empowered to act in a formal governance network presuming that the network structure creates an environment where a collective identity is being built. Methodology/approach — The formal governance networks of 2013 led by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Education and Science were reconstructed on the bases of documents available in the organisations. The structure of the governance networks of 2013 is analysed as a precondition for an organisational collective identity to form. Findings — The structure of the governance networks leads us to the conclusion that stakeholders are expected to be knowledge providers instead of being knowledge co-producers. Originality/value — The networks demonstrate that the process of sharing knowledge and values is not recognised as an important element of participatory groups and efforts made to build a collective identity are too scarce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-273
Number of pages27
JournalStudies in Public and Non-Profit Governance
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • Collective identity
  • Participatory governance
  • Social cohesion
  • Social network analysis
  • Stakeholder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Sociology and Political Science

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