Striving for state of the art with paradigm interplay and meta-synthesis: Purpose-oriented network research challenges and good research practices as a way forward

Robin H Lemaire, Remco S Mannak, Sonia Ospina, and Martijn Groenleer
Perspectives on Public Management and Governance, Perspectives on Public Management and Governance, 2:3 (September 2019), pp. 175-186.

With the growing amount and increasing heterogeneity of research on purpose-oriented networks (PONs) in the public sector, it is imperative to find a way to synthesize this research. Drawing on the varied research perspectives on PONs, we advance the idea of paradigm interplay and meta-synthesis as aspirations for the field and argue this is especially key if we want the study of PONs to inform practice. However, we recognize several challenges in the current state of the PON research that prevent the field from making strides in paradigm interplay and meta-synthesis. We discuss six challenges which we consider the most critical: different labels, differences across research foci, variation in measurement, the nestedness of networks, the dynamism of networks, and variation in the network context. We suggest six good research practices that could contribute to overcoming the challenges now so as to make integration of the research field more of a possibility in the future.

Wagner Faculty