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Context matters: horizontal and hierarchical network governance structures in Vietnam’s sanitation sector

Manuel Fischer, Eawag, Dübendorf, Switzerland; University of Bern
Mi Nguyen, Nguyen Tat Thanh Hi-Tech Institute, Nguyen Tat Thanh University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Linda Strande, Eawag, Dübendorf, Switzerland


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Governance networks describe the complex relations among different types of actors involved in the governance of a policy issue. Here, we ask how different institutional and socioeconomic contextual conditions influence the structure of these networks and result in more horizontal or hierarchical types of governance networks. To answer this question, we study Vietnam’s sanitation sector and compare two different provinces, Hanoi and Ben Tre. More specifically, we analyze networks of information exchange among key actors based on face-to-face interviews and prestructured questionnaires. We find that in the highly urbanized capital city of Hanoi, which serves as a national leader of innovation, where national and international actors are present, and where local actors have high capacities, information exchange tends to follow horizontal network structures. In the more rural, typical province of Ben Tre, hierarchical structures dominate.

Key words

hierarchical network structures; horizontal network structures; information exchange; network governance; sanitation; Vietnam

Copyright © 2019 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087