Making Good Use of Partners: Differential Effects of Managerial Networking in the Social Care Domain

M.J.A. van der Heijden, Jelmer Schalk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Public managers engage in networking relationships with a wide variety of external actors and organizations from which they can draw different types of support and resources. Most empirical studies on managerial networking merely present different intensities of external networking in general, as if it were a unidimensional concept. In practice, however, public managers strategically differentiate between functional or task-related groups of external partners, based on the specific policy context. Moreover, such differentiation in networking behavior can be expected to systematically impact agency and public program performance outcomes. This article derives contextualized hypotheses on how managerial networking affects the performance of Dutch local governments in the social care domain. Multilevel structural equation analyses of 3,257 social care clients in 71 local governments provide evidence that bilateral client-interest networking is more beneficial to the Social Support Act’s overall goal of improving the level of social participation of clients than professional networking. Moreover, the effect is indirect: managerial networking with client interest groups improves the physical self-reliance of clients, enabling them to engage in social activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-759
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Public Management Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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