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Smart hybridity: Potentials and challenges of new governance arrangements
Administration  (IF),  Pub Date : 2020-08-01, DOI: 10.2478/admin-2020-0018
Seán Keane

Societal changes as evidenced in so-called ‘wicked problems’ have become all the more salient in recent times. Traditional governance approaches, which include hierarchy, markets, networks and societal self-governance, are ill-equipped to face the following challenges: regional economic development, urban renewal, social inequality, sustainability, climate change, integral youth care, the ageing workforce in the public services sector, economic growth, the development of future-proof infrastructure and crises. These technically difficult matters require specific knowledge but there is a lack of consensus about how to tackle them, which also makes them complicated at the social level. Such societal issues call for appropriate governance but traditional public administration – characterised by hierarchy, bureaucracy through organisation, and representative democracy – has led to ‘the decline of poor governance and corruption’. New Public Management (NPM) promised ‘increased efficiency and transparency’ but has failed to offer ‘the coherence, innovation, public values and involvement that new challenges require’ (p. 13). New Public Governance has seen greater use of collaboration and horizontal administration but ‘exclusion, limited transparency and high transaction costs’ have been recognised as drawbacks. This volume’s introductory chapter reminds us that complicated issues, however, ‘are never truly solved, and it is always possible to do better’ (p. 12). The success of newer governance arrangements therefore lies in their hybridity: ‘they transcend the borders of traditional sectors, policy domains and jurisdictional levels’ by combining ‘different or