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Believing that complex problems call for complex solutions and that stakeholders should have a say inpolicies that concern them, policymakers have strongly promoted the development of forums andorganizations made up of many stakeholders to address complex governance issues such as watermanagement. Both developing and developed countries have instituted multistakeholder watergovernance bodies on local, national, and international levels. However, while the belief is strong thatthese integrated bodies should improve governance, how and to what extent that actually happens is stillunclear, not only because of the complexity of the matter but also due to a lack of appropriate researchtools for the analysis of complex governance systems.This paper presents an innovative empirical research tool—Net-Map—developed to betterunderstand multistakeholder governance by gathering in-depth information about governance networks,goals of actors, and their power and influence. Researchers and implementers alike can use Net-Map tocollect qualitative and quantitative information in a structured and comparable way. It can be used both asa research tool and as an instrument for organizational development and strategic network planning. Acase study on the development of a multistakeholder water governance body in northern Ghana illustratesthe application of this research method. The method can be used on many different levels, from thecommunity, to national or even international levels.Net-Map merges characteristics of two existing methods, namely social network analysis and thepower mapping tool. Using a participatory approach, interviewees and interviewers together draw anetwork map of the actors involved in the policy arena and characterize the different kinds of linksbetween the actors. They then add “influence towers,” made of checkers pieces, to transfer the abstractconcepts of power and influence into a three-dimensional form. Finally, the interviewee assesses the goalorientation of the different actors (for example, developmental versus environmental or pro versus con acertain intervention).The tool provides an influence network map of the governance situation as well as qualitative andquantitative data about the perceived power and influence of the actors. While the data lend themselves tocomplex quantitative analysis, this paper mainly focuses on the use of the tool for the purpose of mappingand organizational development. The paper explores how the mapping process itself also stimulates astructured in-depth discussion of crucial issues and ways forward. In Ghana, the method has proven to beinterculturally applicable and easy to apply and adapt. Interviewees were excited about their own learningprocesses throughout the interview. Implicit understanding and concepts were visualized and madeexplicit so that group members could understand where they agree and differ in their perception of thegovernance arena.

Keywords: Ghana ; Water Governance ; Social Network Analysis ; Net-Map ; research methodology ; multi-stakeholder governance

Subject(s): Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies

Issue Date: 2008

Publication Type: Working or Discussion Paper

PURL Identifier:

Total Pages: 28

Series Statement: IFPRI Discussion Paper


Record appears in: CGIAR > International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) > IFPRI Discussion Papers

Autor: Schiffer, Eva ; Waale, Douglas


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