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Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 160; doi:10.3390/su9010160

Facilitation as a Governance Strategy: Unravelling Governments’ Facilitation Frames

Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS), Erasmus University Rotterdam, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, 3062 PA Rotterdam, The Netherlands
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Academic Editors: Michiel Heldeweg, Ellen van Bueren, Anna Butenko, Thomas Hoppe, Séverine Saintier and Victoria Daskalova
Received: 28 October 2016 / Revised: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 14 January 2017 / Published: 22 January 2017
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Abstract

Governments increasingly choose facilitation as a strategy to entice others to produce public goods and services, including in relation to the realisation of sustainable energy innovations. An important instrument to implement this governance strategy is discursive framing. To learn how public authorities use discursive framing to implement a facilitation strategy, we conducted a comparative case study on two Dutch examples in which the government aims to facilitate non-governmental actors to exploit public waterworks for the production of renewable energy. Using content analysis, we identify ten ‘facilitation frame’ elements. We find two configurations of elements: restrained facilitation and invitational facilitation, which both have their advantages, ambivalences and drawbacks. It is often unclear what governments want to achieve and what they have to offer in terms of facilitation. The (discursively) offered support, ranging from ‘giving space’ to ‘creating beneficial conditions’, is often elusive. We conclude that, to avoid deadlock, false expectations and the inactiveness of external actors, the government’s communication should both enthuse and inform these actors about what they can expect. If, however, the potential, non-governmental initiators just lack the necessary capacity to act, there is only so much discursive framing can do. Then authorities should reconsider their ‘facilitative’ role. View Full-Text
Keywords: government facilitation; governance; renewable energy; facilitation frames; discursive framing; non-governmental initiative; public–private collaboration; public policy government facilitation; governance; renewable energy; facilitation frames; discursive framing; non-governmental initiative; public–private collaboration; public policy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Grotenbreg, S.; van Buuren, A. Facilitation as a Governance Strategy: Unravelling Governments’ Facilitation Frames. Sustainability 2017, 9, 160.

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