Horizontal, vertical, and diagonal governance

Jacob Torfing, B. Guy Peters, Jon Pierre and Eva Sørensen

in Interactive Governance

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199596751
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738180 | DOI:
Horizontal, vertical, and diagonal governance

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State-centric models of governance tend to focus on the role of political and administrative institutions and interactions among those institutions. Although that governance perspective typically argues that the sources of political power, and indeed the power of the state, are changing, states still control considerable power and resources. In interactive governance, on the other hand, agency is not directly tied to institutions or institutional levels but criss-crosses among levels. Participation is defined by stakes, interests, knowledge, resources, and networking capability. Thus, while all models of governance stipulate some form of interaction, the trademark of interactive governance is its contextualization and informality of those interactions. Interactive governance must be understood in its institutional and dimensional context and denotes a process of steering and coordination that involves a plurality of actors. That process features connections either among actors at the same institutional level or among actors operating at different institutional levels. In more complex cases of interactive governance, the vertical and horizontal dimensions are both present and jointly shape the process and outcomes of governance. Given the interactive nature of governance, institutions become less important as carriers of political authority and instead more important as arenas for interaction. Thus, interorganizational relations, and also the relationship between politicians and bureaucrats in horizontal governance, are not primarily characterized by command and control, but rather by shared beliefs, interdependency, and cooperation.

Keywords: political institutions; agency; stakes; resources; actors; governance

Chapter.  7856 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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