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Int J Integr Care. 2010 Oct 26;10:e60.

Mental health network governance: comparative analysis across Canadian regions.

Author information

1
Chair and Associate Professor, School of Health Policy and Management, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Modes of governance were compared in ten local mental health networks in diverse contexts (rural/urban and regionalized/non-regionalized) to clarify the governance processes that foster inter-organizational collaboration and the conditions that support them.

METHODS:

Case studies of ten local mental health networks were developed using qualitative methods of document review, semi-structured interviews and focus groups that incorporated provincial policy, network and organizational levels of analysis.

RESULTS:

Mental health networks adopted either a corporate structure, mutual adjustment or an alliance governance model. A corporate structure supported by regionalization offered the most direct means for local governance to attain inter-organizational collaboration. The likelihood that networks with an alliance model developed coordination processes depended on the presence of the following conditions: a moderate number of organizations, goal consensus and trust among the organizations, and network-level competencies. In the small and mid-sized urban networks where these conditions were met their alliance realized the inter-organizational collaboration sought. In the large urban and rural networks where these conditions were not met, externally brokered forms of network governance were required to support alliance based models.

DISCUSSION:

In metropolitan and rural networks with such shared forms of network governance as an alliance or voluntary mutual adjustment, external mediation by a regional or provincial authority was an important lever to foster inter-organizational collaboration.

KEYWORDS:

continuity of care; coordination; governance; integration; mental health; networks

PMID:
21289999
PMCID:
PMC3031794

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