Building horizontal coordination in Sri Lanka

Ramanie Samaratunge, Deirdre O'Neill, Ken Coghill, B. Wijayarathne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Horizontal coordination is a focal topic in contemporary public management. However, greater attention has been given to developed states while developing countries struggle to improve the quality of public service delivery amidst skills shortages and siloed organisations. This article presents a foreign-funded training programme designed to promote horizontal coordination at the most local level of government in a developing country, Sri Lanka, and analyses the factors that contributed to its success. Using data collected through participant surveys, focus groups, and programme-related projects, the article shows how the formation of a "locally directed, donor-supported" programme aligned with national development priorities that enabled the country-level partner institution to deliver a programme that improved horizontal coordination and enhanced delivery of public services. Although findings confirm the importance of contextualising programme design, content, and delivery for achieving aid effectiveness, a novel conclusion was that the participation of elected officials alongside career public servants greatly contributed to the programme's success by creating new levels of trust and facilitating more productive working relationships between key stakeholders, culminating in improved outcomes for local communities. This suggests that elected officials can play a key role in building horizontal coordination in developing nations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-330
Number of pages12
JournalPublic Administration and Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2017


  • Horizontal coordination
  • Aid effectiveness
  • Developing Country
  • Governance
  • Sri Lanka

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