Information Sharing and Public Sector Knowledge Networks


As pressures to engage in cross-agency and cross-sectoral partnerships become more widespread, information sharing becomes an ever more critical and daunting aspect of public administration. In this edition's exchange among scholars and practitioners, Sharon S. Dawes, Anthony M. Cresswell, and Theresa A. Pardo of the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany, State University of New York, offer a “baker's dozen” of lessons they have culled from research and their own action research agenda studying the building of public sector knowledge networks in New York over the past 15 years. Grounded in a multidisciplinary, experientially based, and street-level view of the obstacles to and tactics for building successful public sector knowledge networks, the authors' warning to conceive collaborative information-sharing efforts as governance rather than information technology challenges is advice that practitioners ignore at their peril. Readers will find a more extensive eversion of this article on the PAR Web site (go to, click on PAR, then on the Theory to Practice icon). They also will find expert e-commentary on the article (plus the authors' response) from Lisa Bingham, Indiana University-Bloomington; Sharon Caudle, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University; Louise K. Comfort, University of Pittsburgh; and Costis Toregas, American University.