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Stakeholder partnerships as collaborative policymaking: Evaluation criteria applied to watershed management in California and Washington


  • William D. Leach

    (Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis)

  • Neil W. Pelkey

    (Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania)

  • Paul A. Sabatier

    (Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis)


Public policymaking and implementation in the United States are increasingly handled through local, consensus-seeking partnerships involving most affected stakeholders. This paper formalizes the concept of a stakeholder partnership, and proposes techniques for using interviews, surveys, and documents to measure each of six evaluation criteria. Then the criteria are applied to 44 watershed partnerships in California and Washington. The data suggest that each criterion makes a unique contribution to the overall evaluation, and together the criteria reflect a range of partnership goals-both short-term and long-term, substantive and instrumental. Success takes time-frequently about 48 months to achieve major milestones, such as formal agreements and implementation of restoration, education, or monitoring projects. Stakeholders perceive that their partnerships have been most effective at addressing local problems and at addressing serious problems-not just uncontroversial issues, as previously hypothesized. On the other hand, they perceive that partnerships have occasionally aggravated problems involving the economy, regulation, and threats to property rights. © 2002 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • William D. Leach & Neil W. Pelkey & Paul A. Sabatier, 2002. "Stakeholder partnerships as collaborative policymaking: Evaluation criteria applied to watershed management in California and Washington," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(4), pages 645-670.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:21:y:2002:i:4:p:645-670
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.10079

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marie Lynn Miranda & James N Miller & Timothy L Jacobs, 2000. "Talking trash about landfills: Using quantitative scoring schemes in landfill siting processes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 3-22.
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    Cited by:

    1. S. Franceschini & G. Marletto, 2017. "The dynamics of social capital during public participation: new knowledge from an on-going monitoring," Working Paper CRENoS 201706, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    2. Rob Tulder & M. May Seitanidi & Andrew Crane & Stephen Brammer, 2016. "Enhancing the Impact of Cross-Sector Partnerships," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 135(1), pages 1-17, April.
    3. Berthomé, Guy-El-Karim & Thomas, Alban, 2017. "A Context-based Procedure for Assessing Participatory Schemes in Environmental Planning," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 113-123.
    4. Corina Höppner & Rebecca Whittle & Michael Bründl & Matthias Buchecker, 2012. "Linking social capacities and risk communication in Europe: a gap between theory and practice?," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 64(2), pages 1753-1778, November.
    5. Hung-Chih Hung & Ling-Yeh Chen, 2013. "Incorporating stakeholders’ knowledge into assessing vulnerability to climatic hazards: application to the river basin management in Taiwan," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 120(1), pages 491-507, September.
    6. John Selsky & Barbara Parker, 2010. "Platforms for Cross-Sector Social Partnerships: Prospective Sensemaking Devices for Social Benefit," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 94(1), pages 21-37, July.
    7. Siddiki, Saba & Goel, Shilpi, 2015. "A stakeholder analysis of U.S. marine aquaculture partnerships," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 93-102.
    8. Eberhard, Rachel & Johnston, Nathan & Everingham, Jo-Anne, 2013. "A collaborative approach to address the cumulative impacts of mine-water discharge: Negotiating a cross-sectoral waterway partnership in the Bowen Basin, Australia," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 678-687.
    9. Porter, Madeleine & Franks, Daniel M. & Everingham, Jo-Anne, 2013. "Cultivating collaboration: Lessons from initiatives to understand and manage cumulative impacts in Australian resource regions," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 657-669.
    10. McDonald, Sara L. & Rigling-Gallagher, Deborah, 2015. "Participant perceptions of consensus-based, marine mammal take reduction planning," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 216-226.
    11. Sundström, Agneta, 2009. "Globalization, CSR and business legitimacy in local relationships," Department of Economics publications 1967, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics.
    12. repec:eee:ecoser:v:18:y:2016:i:c:p:186-197 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Janmaat, John, 2008. "Playing monopoly in the creek: Imperfect competition, development, and in-stream flows," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 455-473, August.
    14. Daniel Sherman, 2005. "Collaborative Environmental Management: What Roles for Government?," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 38(2), pages 201-204, September.
    15. Manuel Fischer & Philip Leifeld, 2015. "Policy forums: Why do they exist and what are they used for?," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 48(3), pages 363-382, September.
    16. Ananda, Jayanath & Proctor, Wendy, 2013. "Collaborative approaches to water management and planning: An institutional perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 97-106.
    17. Sheila Ellwood & Javier Garcia-Lacalle, 2015. "The Influence of Presence and Position of Women on the Boards of Directors: The Case of NHS Foundation Trusts," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 69-84, August.
    18. repec:kap:policy:v:50:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11077-017-9295-z is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Janmaat, Johannus A., 2007. "Stakeholder Engagement in Land Development Decisions: A Waste of Effort?," MPRA Paper 6147, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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