21st Century Governance
Governing By Network

Governing by Network: The New Shape of the Public Sector

By Stephen Goldsmith and William D. Eggers

Governing by Network examines, for the first time, governments transformation from centralized control over public programs to facilitating services through networks of nongovernmental entities, as seen through the experience of dozens of public innovators.

In this model, the role of government is transformed from direct service provider to generator of public value. There are huge advantages to governing by network—flexibility, speed, innovation and specialization to name just a few—but also serious challenges.

Managing a portfolio of provider networks is different than managing divisions of public employees. It requires a form of public management different from what governments and their citizens have become accustomed to over the past 100 years.

This book outlines what this new model of government would look like and provides a roadmap for actually governing the networked state. Drawing from dozens of case studies, as well as established best practices, it provides lessons to inform elected officials, business executives, and the broader public.

Governing by Network is co-published by the Brookings Institution Press and the Innovations in American Government Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


Governing by Network, Reason Public Policy Institute

Networking, Governing Magazine, January 2005

Governing by Network: The New Shape of the Public Sector, The Public Manager, Winter 2004

Buy Lines: FPP's Savafian needs to hit the ground running, Washington Technology, December 13, 2004

Civic Enterprise, Blueprint: New Democrat Magazine, December 13, 2004

Governing by Network, The Jefferson Journal, December 13, 2004

Reshaping the Public Sector to "Govern by Network", Governing.com, December 2004

Government needs a new management style, scholars say, GOVEXEC.com, November 29, 2004

Washington Post Highlights Two Public CIO Writers, Public CIO, November 22, 2004

Uncle Sam Is Advised To Get With the Network, Washington Post, November 21, 2004

Governing by Network: CIOs and the New Public Sector, Public CIO, November 2004

Rewiring Government, Federal Computer Week, October 18, 2004

Government by Network: The New Public Management Imperative, Related Deloitte Research study by Eggers & Goldsmith, September 2004

The Nonprofit Gold Rush, San Francisco Bay Guardian

Ending Nonprofit Secrecy, San Francisco Bay Guardian

Governing by Network: The New Public Governance, Privitization Watch

Critical Acclaim

“New public management books come along every so often—many of them boring or irrelevant. I think this one is on the mark.”
— Peter A. Harkness, Governing

“Must-read material for reform-minded Democrats.”
— New Democrats’ Blueprint Magazine

“Governing by Network is a book that should be required reading by every leader inside and outside of government interested in dramatic and responsible change.”
— The Jefferson Journal

Government Leaders
“In Governing by Network, Goldsmith and Eggers answer one of the most important public policy questions of our time: how public officials can achieve results and ensure accountability to citizens in an age in which government relies more and more on partners to do the public’s business. This comes at a time when the pressure on government to deliver better service for less money has become intense.”
— Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell

"From business to warfare, networked organizational forms are supplanting hierarchies. Now, Goldsmith and Eggers, two of America's most innovative policy thinkers, show how the networking trend is transforming government. This book is a must read for anyone concerned with how to make government better and more cost effective."
— Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney

"The definitive book on managing government in the networked age."
— Washington, DC, Mayor Anthony A. Williams

Leading Academics
"A singularly important contribution to thinking about governance in the 21st Century."
— Professor Donald Kettl, University of Pennsylvania

"Government alone cannot address society’s most pressing challenges. Instead, new kinds of collaboration are needed, with the private sector and social enterprises playing central roles. Goldsmith and Eggers offer a penetrating and insightful treatment of how to make the new collaborative and networked approach to government actually work. We are in the process of rewriting the rules of public management, and this book is a major contribution."
— Michael E. Porter, Harvard Business School

"Just as the twentieth century was the era of the large public bureaucracy, the twenty-first is likely to be the era of the public-private network. Goldsmith and Eggers provide a clear and lively guide to the new terrain, offering concrete advice to public sector managers and elected officials on how to grapple with performance and accountability challenges."
— Alasdair S. Roberts, Director, Campbell Public Affairs Institute, The Maxwell School of Syracuse University

Governing By Network