Characteristics of stakeholder networks supporting local government performance improvements in rural water supply: Cases from Ghana, Malawi, and Bolivia
ABSTRACT: A study of local governments in Ghana, Malawi, and Bolivia applies social network analysis to identify characteristics of stakeholder networks supporting performance improvements in these institutions. Seven local governments that have demonstrated performance improvements are studied. Network analysis is combined with qualitative analysis of a commentary from primary interviews with stakeholders in these networks to identify characteristics that are observable from a network perspective and perceived as important by stakeholders active in these networks. Three network characteristics are identified in multiple cases as supporting improvements in local government performance. The first network characteristic is multiple information and skill ties between a local government and other local stakeholders including communities and operators. The second network characteristic is strong information and skill ties between a local government and higher levels of sector hierarchy. The third characteristic is coordination between stakeholders at higher levels of sector hierarchy that have strong information and skill ties with a local government. Strong information and skill ties between these support providers can help them to coordinate their efforts to collaboratively support local governments. These three characteristics can be used to analyse other stakeholder networks around local governments to identify where certain relationships that might support institutional development are missing.
KEYWORDS: Social network analysis, local government, institutional development, rural water supply