Actors' awareness of network governance in child welfare and healthcare service networks

Mariëlle Blanken*, Jolanda J.P. Mathijssen, Chijs Van Nieuwenhuizen, Jörg Raab, J.A.M. Van Oers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
97 Downloads (Pure)


To ensure that families with social and behavioral health problems get the support they need, organizations collaborate in child service networks. These networks are generally lead-organization governed. It is assumed that network members have relatively accurate information about the governance mode. However, discrepancies between the formally administered and perceived governance mode could raise legitimacy questions and lead to conflicts, and ultimately affect network effectiveness. Therefore, we investigated to what extent such discrepancies exist and how they might be explained. Hereby, the focus was on the concepts level of trust, interaction, and strength of relationship with the lead organization in the network. A comparative case study was conducted of three inter-organizational networks of child services in different-sized municipalities in the Netherlands in 2018 and 2019. A multiple generalized linear mixed model analysis was used. We found that only a minority of the network members had an accurate perception of the governance mode. This awareness did improve over time. The level of interaction and relationship strength with the lead organization were independently associated with an accurate perception of the governance mode. Trust of a network member in the network, however, had no significant association. These insights underline the necessity to consider network information accuracy as an important variable for understanding network behavior and as crucial for the effective delivery of child services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-36
JournalHealth Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • governance mode perception
  • child welfare and healthcare service delivery networks
  • longitudinal multiple case studies
  • lead organization-governed networks in the netherlands


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