Problematizing partner selection: Collaborative choices and decision-making uncertainty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Although networked collaboration is often linked to positive outcomes, choosing suitable partners for collaboration can be difficult. Actors often only have limited information about the preferences, capabilities, and trustworthiness of prospective collaborators, meaning that considerable uncertainty may underlie collaborative choices. This article analyses the decision-making uncertainty associated with collaborative choices and assesses factors that potentially mitigate such uncertainty. Based on qualitative research, it presents a conceptual model that brings together and specifies mitigating factors at the network-, organizational, and individual-levels of analysis. The developed conceptual model provides a clearer theoretical understanding and presentation of the cross-level factors important to consider when studying collaborative behaviour. In addition, through its focus on uncertainty, it provides more consideration of the challenges that individual officials face when choosing collaborators in complex networked environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-491
Number of pages26
JournalPublic Policy and Administration
Issue number4
Early online date27 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • Networks
  • policy networks
  • decision making
  • uncertainty
  • collaborative governance


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