Performing governance: A partnership board dramaturgy

Timothy Freeman, Edward Peck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the governance of complex public sector partnerships through a detailed case study of a Joint Commissioning Partnership Board (JCPB) in the South East of England. It argues that a theoretical and empirical focus on the instrumental roles of boards has resulted in an under-appreciation of their symbolic purposes, especially in the context of the governance of inter-organizational relationships. The paper considers the performative dimension of partnership governance, highlighting the role of the symbolic in institutional enactment. Following a brief overview of governance in public sector partnerships, the case study site for the empirical research is introduced. The instrumental and symbolic roles of management boards are considered from a new institutionalist perspective and a dramaturgical analysis of institutional enactment undertaken to explore interplays of the symbolic and instrumental in strategy formation. Some implications for our understanding of the symbolic in partnership governance are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-929
Number of pages23
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007


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