Policy entrepreneurship across boundaries: A systematic literature review

M.F. Faling*, G.R. Biesbroek, S.I.S.E. Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, C.J.A.M. Termeer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Although policy entrepreneurs are assigned an important role in crossing policy boundaries and addressing complex problems, our understanding of the process is limited. This article systematically reviews 51 studies on conditions, strategies and implications of crossboundary entrepreneurship. Findings show that (1) the literature predominantly mentions issue promotion and coalition-building as crossboundary strategies; (2) vertical boundary-crossing is discussed more frequently than horizontal boundary-crossing; (3) the most reported boundary-crossing function is to expand issue arenas; (4) conditions that enable crossboundary strategies include institutional overlap, issue interpretation, power vacuum, overruling policies and lacking resources; and (5) implications of entrepreneurship include raised opposition, increased competition over leadership, augmented complexity hindering collective action, raised costs and resources, and issues regarding trust, legitimacy and authority. Policy entrepreneurship allows for micro-level insights in the emergence of crossboundary processes. We suggest future research to focus on causal processes between conditions, strategies and implications to better understand their interplay.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-422
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Public Policy
Issue number2
Early online date15 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • boundary-spanning
  • complex problems
  • contextual conditions
  • policy entrepreneurship
  • strategy
  • systematic literature review


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