Drawing together work in comparative politics, public administration, organization theory, and economic sociology, this article describes a distinctive form of modern polity-the ‘networked polity’. In the networked polity, states are strongly embedded in society and pursue their objectives by operating through networks of societal associations. Both state agencies and societal associations take the form of ‘network’ or ‘organic’ organizations-decentralized, team-based organizations with strong lateral communication and coordination that crosses functional boundaries within and between organizations. These organizations are then linked together by means of cooperative exchange relationships around common projects. The role of the state is to empower stakeholders and facilitate cooperation among them. The concept is illustrated through an examination of regional development strategies in Western Europe.
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