NGOs in Global Internet Governance: Co-Creation Processes, Collective Learning, and Network Effectiveness

Posted: 13 Aug 2009

See all articles by Nanette S. Levinson

Nanette S. Levinson

American University - School of International Service

Date Written: 2009


2009 marks the fourth year of an experiment in a global governance domain marked by deep change and technological complexity: the UN-convened Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and the internet governance realm. Many of the innovations in this realm are shared with or borrowed from other global governance arenas ranging from environmental policies to nuclear nonproliferation and even to indigenous cultural rights. In each of these global governance settings, networks of like and unlike organizations (including NGOs) crossing national and regional boundaries have emerged. There is a new focus on collaboration processes, especially at cross-organizational levels. This paper goes beyond these perspectives to offer a framework that has at its center the roles and practices of co-creation processes (including cross-cultural communication) in networked settings, especially involving nongovernmental organizations.

This paper uses data and findings from the author’s study of multistakeholderism in internet governance. It reports on qualitative data from an exploration of nongovernmental organizations and their networks as they participate in the Internet Governance Forum and related policy venues. Very few studies have looked either at collective learning processes in such settings with blurred boundaries or the effectiveness of such networked configurations. Yielding a conceptual framework for collective learning in networked governance type settings, this study contributes to our understanding of cross-cultural and cross-organizational collaborative governance type processes and their possible effectiveness.

Keywords: collaboration, collective learning, internet governance, network effectiveness, nongovernmental organizations, internet governance forum

JEL Classification: A12, A14, D23, L30, O31

Suggested Citation

Levinson, Nanette S., NGOs in Global Internet Governance: Co-Creation Processes, Collective Learning, and Network Effectiveness (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Nanette S. Levinson (Contact Author)

American University - School of International Service ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States


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