From government to governance…to meta-governance: a systematic literature review

Gjaltema, Jonna; Biesbroek, Robbert; Termeer, Katrien


This study aims to disentangle the concept of meta-governance by systematically reviewing 79 articles. By investigating the who, what, why, and how of meta-governance, this article paints a detailed picture of its empirical manifestation. We conclude that the literature could benefit from better conceptualization and operationalization. From the results, we define meta-governance as ‘a practice by (mainly) public authorities that entails the coordination of one or more governance modes by using different instruments, methods, and strategies to overcome governance failures.’ Meta-governance therefore goes beyond the unproductive dichotomy in the ‘from government to governance’ debate.