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07.06 Cross-Border Network Governance for Sustainable Training in Health Care

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Project Summary

The project aims to describe and explain under which conditions cross-border collaborative networks contribute to the creation of innovative and sustainable learning in the health care sector. Many contemporary industrialized societies face labor market shortages in the health care sector due to - amongst others - increased demand caused by population aging. One way to address the rising demand for health care professionals is the recruitment of these professionals from other countries in order to create sustainable labor markets in the sector. However, cross-border recruitment is not a straightforward task due to the fact that each country has unique health care and education system characteristics. Along with different skill and competency requirements and diplomas tailored to the specifics of the national health care context, there are also differences in clients' expectations and institutional arrangements across countries. The success of cross-country recruitment of health care professionals thus depends on the establishment of a productive and effective collaboration regarding learning opportunities, employment policies, job profiles, and education programs by multiple stakeholders in both the health care and education sector, such as nursing schools, hospitals, recruiters and professional associations, on both sides of the border.

For several decades now, collaborative networks between public organizations have proven their value as a tool to improve the service provision in the health and education sectors within many European countries. An increasing number of such collaborative networks represent cross-border collaboration (CBC) initiatives (Perkmann, 2003). But do such networks really work?

Research Design and Data

This project capitalizes on a unique opportunity to collect longitudinal data in a large cross-border collaborative network in two Western European countries. Modeling the evolution of collaborative networks in a multilevel organizational field with more than 50 participating organizations requires a mixed method research design, combining both quantitative and qualitative data collection. The first stage consists of mapping the stakeholders involved in the inter-organizational networks and their multilevel governance structure. In a second step, multilevel longitudinal sociometric and attribute data will be collected on (changes in) the overarching network structure and the tasks implemented in the network. Specific attention will also be devoted to identify the threats to sustainable cooperation and the related solutions in terms of network governance.


Lec. dr. Jelly Zuidersma


Netwerk ZON (50%)
Department of Sociology (50%)
University of Groningen

  • Discipline
  • Location
    University of Groningen, Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • Period
    September 1, 2017 - present