Analysing governance modes and shifts - Governance arrangements in Dutch nature policy

R.C.M. Arnouts, M.W. van der Zouwen, B.J.M. Arts

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84 Citations (Scopus)


Governance is one of the most frequently discussed issues in contemporary policy science literature, and this has led to a wide variety of conceptualisations. However, few of these offer a typology that can be used to actually analyse governance. In this paper, we present such a typology. We distinguish governance modes and governance shifts and use Kooiman's governance conception as our main inspiration, elaborated with the help of the policy arrangement approach. This results in four ideal-type governance modes – hierarchical, closed co-, open co- and self governance – that are operationalised into four ideal-type governance arrangements. These arrangements differ from one another in terms of actors, power and interaction rules. In explaining governance shifts, we distinguish between old and new modes of governance and introduce three external change factors (adjacent policy arrangements, socio-political trends and shock events) and one internal factor (policy entrepreneurs) that can account for governance change. To prove the value of our framework, we apply it to a case, i.e. the rise of nature policy in the Dutch region Utrechtse Heuvelrug in the 1970s and 1980s. Besides providing insight into how to work with our framework, the results also reveal a rather paradoxical governance shift, i.e. from a new to an old mode, thus putting the much heralded shift “from government to governance” into perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-50
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • government
  • networks
  • decline
  • state
  • rise


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