chapter  4
35 Pages

Introducing metagovernance

Governance of governance
WithLouis Meuleman

This chapter introduces the concept and the practice of metagovernance, which is ‘a means by which to produce some degree of coordinated governance, by designing and managing sound combinations of hierarchical, market and network governance, to achieve the best possible outcomes’. Metagovernance is in the first place a heuristic concept for dealing with complex governance challenges. The chapter discusses why metagovernance as ‘governance of governance’ for sustainable development should cover all governance styles (hierarchical, network and market governance): those who restrict the concept to the management of network governance, for example, are leaving out important parts of the available governance toolbox. Because of its ‘built-in’ taking-into-account of governance contexts, it is no surprise that 20 years after the term ‘metagovernance’ was introduced, it is meanwhile used in governance research around the world. The chapter introduces typical metagovernance principles and four metagovernance strategies: framing, combining, switching and maintenance. It discusses why multi-level governance such as practiced by the European Commission is often identified as metagovernance. The chapter ends with some thoughts about metagovernance and power and about metagovernance failures.