Network Governance through Resource Dependence Theory: A Case Study of Illicit Drug Policy in Thailand

  • Patamawadee Jongruck

Student thesis: Phd


Over the past decade, public policy making and implementation in some European and North American countries have been in the form of networks of public, private and voluntary sector organisations. The changing nature of governance, to governing with and through networks, is known as 'network governance' (Rhodes, 1997). Nonetheless, it is ambiguous if network governance is a global phenomenon or merely applicable to the developed world context. Since the evidence of network governance from developing countries is hitherto scarce in the literature, this research, therefore, fills the current knowledge gap by examining network governance in Thailand. The research explores and explains the presence (or absence) of network governance in Thailand through Resource Dependence Theory, using illicit drug policy implementation in Chiang Mai province as a case study. A quantitative survey (N = 217) and a qualitative semi-structured interview (N = 31) were employed to accumulate primary data. The findings reveal that governance in the case under consideration had not shifted towards networks. Although it was found that there is a moderate degree of resource interdependence between state and non-state organisations involved in the policy, it was not sufficient to verify the existence of network governance. This was because power asymmetry existed in the relationship, with the state sector being the power-advantaged one. State agencies avoided collaborating with the non-state sector due to the fear of an expected loss of autonomy, whereas non-state organisations did not perceive resources from the state sector as being of critical importance. Thus, network governance was mainly absent from this case. This research joins broader intellectual debates that network governance is not a global phenomenon but rather a case-specific one, which suggests that public administration scholars should take the distinctiveness of context into account. Moreover, this study contributes to the illicit drug policy making in Thailand by recommending that deregulations of some bureaucratic rules and cross-sector organisational learning are vital to facilitate network governance.
Date of Award1 Aug 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorChristopher Rees (Supervisor), Derek Eldridge (Supervisor) & William Mccourt (Supervisor)


  • developing countries
  • illicit drug policy
  • Thailand
  • network governance
  • resource dependence theory

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