Date of Award

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Administration


David M. Van Slyke


Bureaucratic Politics, Collaborative Governance, Decentralization in India, Implementing Global Health Initiatives, Intergovernmental and Interorganizational Relationships, Policy Implementation in India

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


This dissertation studies an instance of collaborative governance (called Maarpu) in a subnational government in India (Andhra Pradesh). Through an in-depth case study the dissertation examines the implementation of Maarpu’s antecedents, processes and outcomes. At the outset, the study begins to understand India’s bureaucratic functioning from a historical perspective and takes an organizational theory approach to understanding how organizational structures influence the decisions that organizational actors make. The single biggest finding and contribution of this study to collaborative governance literature is that collaborative structures are not necessarily designed for the mutual benefit of actors and institutions involved; rather, they are the result of the politics of bureaucratic structures that are designed to create winners and losers. I refer to this as the bureaucratic-collaboration paradigm. The study argues that this is the result of bureaucratic politics that infiltrates organizational structures and functioning. The study finds that policy and administrative entrepreneurs in positions of public authority influence the structure of collaborative initiatives creating a certain perception to take shape within the implementation hierarchy. The perception that Maarpu is a health-related initiative and not a collaborative initiative percolated through the implementation hierarchy and existing power balances, turf battles and institutional rivalries between participating departments helped maintain that perception. Findings from this revelatory case provide insights to refine theory, guide practice, and design better collaborative initiatives.


Open Access