Jane Fedorowicz, Bentley University (Waltham, Massachusetts)
Governance Patterns of U.S. Public Safety Networks: Preliminary Findings from a Fuzzy Set Qualitative Comparison Analysis. The Public Safety Networks Study team, housed at Bentley University and Syracuse University, provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the sociotechnical issues pertaining to the initiation, design, uses and successes of interorganizational systems supporting cross-agency communications and information sharing in the public sector. The results to be shared in this presentation represent the latest in a series of studies and analyses conducted by the project team. This is a work in progress. The paper under development extends our prior examination into configurations of design of public safety networks (PSNs), concentrating on the role governance plays. The focus of the analysis, PSNs, are inter-agency collaborations which support the development and uses of interorganizational systems to enhance information sharing and functional interoperability needs of public safety agencies engaged in law enforcement, criminal justice, and emergency response. More broadly, PSN are a specific form of interorganizational information-sharing system (IOS). In this paper we extend prior work to (1) identify significant aspects of PSN governance and (2) identify patterns of PSN performance relative to their governance activities and structures. We focus here on governance because of its hypothesized importance to performance. Governance encompasses the creation and oversight of policies and processes within an organization, and may encompass organizational, resource (e.g., financing), technology and other significant decisions (Markus and Bui, 2011). In the public sector, governance also must address political mandates and input from a variety of external stakeholders such as citizens or other government levels. Specific to this study, the research question to be addressed is: Are there patterns of governance arrangements in PSNs that impact performance? Use of Ragin’s fsQCA technique will allow us to also determine what the patterns are, how they vary, how they are alike, and what may explain them.