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Networking in regional labor market policy. A study on the degree and quality of cooperation in a labor market region.

Smeenk, J.V. (2017) Networking in regional labor market policy. A study on the degree and quality of cooperation in a labor market region.

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Abstract:Labor market policy in the Netherlands is regionally executed. The aim of the policy is to give everyone a chance to get a job and be self-supporting, so there is a strong focus on vulnerable societal groups. In order to regionally shape and execute labor market policy, the Netherlands is divided in 35 labor market regions and one of them is Noord-Holland Noord. To coordinate cooperation within the labor market region, a regional platform labor market policy was founded (RPAnhn). Within this RPAnhn network, different organizations cooperate to develop and execute projects for jobseekers, students and employees. However, it is not clear to what degree organizations in the network cooperate and how this cooperation is going. To study this, the following research question is formulated: What is the degree and quality of cooperation within the labor market region Noord-Holland Noord, and how are these influenced by trust, goal consensus and resource dependency? First, there is made a description on network level. To answer this part of the research question, the research will focus on the degree and quality of cooperation in the network. Cooperation is determined by looking at which organizations are tied together through projects. This is possible on three different themes: From school to work, from work to work and from benefits to work. Cooperation on al three themes is defined as multiplex cooperation and says something about the intensity of the degree of cooperation. The quality of cooperation is determined by the commitment of organizations to network goals and the professionalism of decision-making. The research also tries to explain the degree and quality of cooperation by studying the relationship with trust, resource dependency and goal consensus between organizations. The research is executed in the form of a case-study since it focuses on the particular case of the labor market region NHN and the RPAnhn network. It is a quantitative research with a descriptive and an explanatory part. The organizations that participate in the RPAnhn received an invitation to participate in a questionnaire. These are for a large part municipalities, but also educational organizations, employers’ and employee organizations and other organizations. The respondents are representatives of the organizations that are involved in the RPAnhn on behalf of their organization. Of the 28 member organizations, 22 have filled in the questionnaire. Respondents were asked to indicate with whom they cooperate and on which themes, after which they were asked about the independent variables. The results show that the RPAnhn network is reasonably well connected, with three or four organizations that have a central role in it. These have a large number of connections to others and thus a lot of cooperation. None of the organizations do not participate at all and there are no fragmented parts. The analysis of the quality of cooperation within the network shows that the organizations are committed to network goals. They are willing to invest time and resources for the network. Next to that, the professionalism of decision-making in the network is not as high as the commitment. A further analysis demonstrates that the organizations are satisfied with the clarity of agreements and the transparency of the decision-making process. However, organizations indicate that in general the compliance with agreements is not high. Also, the network is not able to act quickly and decisively. This is a limitation when facing new developments or problems. When looking at explanations for the degree of cooperation, the research shows that there is a relationship with trust in other organizations, resource dependency and goal consensus. The quality of cooperation is only related to symbiotic resource dependency between organizations. Important findings of the research are that a coordinating organization regarding regional labor market policy matters and functions as a connector. As such a connector, a recommendation would be to explore the extra possibilities for cooperation with symbiotic dependency and communicate performances and results. Next to that, this study shows that both the strategic and structural approach, so goal consensus and resource dependency, play a role in network cooperation. Further research should give more clarity about how the compliance with agreements and the ability of the network to act quickly and decisively can be improved.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/72098
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