From government to governance…to meta-governance: a systematic literature review

Jonna Gjaltema*, Robbert Biesbroek, Katrien Termeer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to disentangle the concept of meta-governance by systematically reviewing 79 articles. By investigating the who, what, why, and how of meta-governance, this article paints a detailed picture of its empirical manifestation. We conclude that the literature could benefit from better conceptualization and operationalization. From the results, we define meta-governance as ‘a practice by (mainly) public authorities that entails the coordination of one or more governance modes by using different instruments, methods, and strategies to overcome governance failures.’ Meta-governance therefore goes beyond the unproductive dichotomy in the ‘from government to governance’ debate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1760-1780
JournalPublic Management Review
Issue number12
Early online date14 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • governance
  • government
  • Meta-governance
  • shadow of hierarchy
  • systematic literature review

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