Network theory : the bricks and mortar of integrated public service systems (IPSSs)

Jessa, Fakier ; Uys, Frederick M. (2017-06)

CITATION: Jessa, F. & Uys, F. M. 2017. Network theory : the bricks and mortar of integrated public service systems (IPSSs). Administratio Publica, 25(2):26-48.

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This article explores the feasibility of employing network theory, complexity science and integration elements in building a case for the topology, operability and sustainability of an integrated public service system (IPSS). The emphasis of the article will be on presenting network elements as bases, i.e. bricks and mortar, for the formation of an IPSS. As all systems produce outputs and outcomes, the argument for the existence of an IPSS will be that the IPSS will produce outputs, outcomes, adaptation and sustainability values, referred to as public values (PV), i.e. benefits and values for social well-being, social progress and raised quality of life for all citizens. The article sets out to present insights into the nature and characteristics of networks with the view of recognising the knowledge bases for the formation of an IPSS. To this end, the value of networks, network integration and expansion, the incorporation of actor network theory (ANT) and complex adaptive systems (CASs) will be utilised as theoretical constructs for IPSS formation. Matters related to network typology, in an IPSS context, will be addressed. In argument for an IPSS, which is systemically juxtaposed to the employ of bureaucratic methods of management and governance, the article puts forward suggestions for the management and governance of an IPSS, in the context of maintaining the valuable and essential network environment. The place and importance of efficiency and effectiveness in networked governance will receive considerable attention.

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