Opening up closed policy communities.

C.J.A.M. Termeer, R.A. Werkman

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademicpeer-review


Agricultural policy networks have served as classic cases of closed policy communities, facing pressure to open up. However attempts to involve new stakeholders slowly move forward. This paper addresses the question why it is so difficult to open up agricultural communities and what might help to encourage breakthroughs. We used configuration theory, a sensemaking approach to organization change, to study the process of how actors in the community themselves construct exogenous pressure and respond to it. Using a mixed methods design, our results showed how ‘insiders’ sustained patterns of inclusion and exclusion that automatically excluded new participants and caused the usual actors to dominate the dialogue. Exactly these patterns also hindered attempts to introduce and practice with new process designs. The paper reflects on both the added value of the configuration theory for changing policy networks, and on the acquired insights concerning how to open up closed policy communities. Key words: closed policy community, agricultural policy, configuration theory, change.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventPublic Administration Theory Network (PAT-Net), Omaha, Nebraska -
Duration: 20 May 201023 May 2010


ConferencePublic Administration Theory Network (PAT-Net), Omaha, Nebraska


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