The connotations of collaboration: European linguistic and scholarly perspectives on collaborative governance
CEU Center for Policy Studies
Place of Publication:
CPS Working Papers
The paper investigates the extent to which policy-makers, academics private sector representatives and citizens in different European countries are likely to have different understandings of what the increasingly popular term ‘collaborative governance’ means and implies. Utilizing data from the European funded project “Transformation into Open, Collaborative and Innovative Governments (TROPICO)”, the paper analyses input from country experts on public administration and the results of a review of academic and policy documents to explore this question. The paper provides numerous empirical examples, from ten European countries, of changes in meaning through translations and through usage in different contexts. Overall, the findings of the paper draw attention to the importance of being aware of the divergence of linguistic practice and national connotations in order to fully understand and be able to compare collaborative governance across European counties. For proponents of collaborative governance, it is also important to know that how to speak about this, as least for now, should be adapted to different country settings, unless risk unwanted or uninformed connotations.