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Developmental Dynamics: Interagency Collaboration as an Emergent Phenomenon

Bardach, E (2001). Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 11(2), 149-164.

Developmental dynamics are everywhere, from legislative coalition formation to the evolution of interorganizational cooperation to intraorganizational renewal. It is extremely hard to analyze such developmental processes. They are usually composed of multiple and interacting subprocesses; they are recursive; they are subject to external shocks; and the ability of participating actors to anticipate and then forestall their complete unfolding is highly confounding. This article explains what “success” would mean in understanding such processes, sketches some substantive hypotheses about how they work in the field of interorganizational cooperation, and proposes computer simulation as a method for probing more deeply.