New Paper from Stefaan Verhulst: Data Collaboratives as “Bazaars”? A Review of Coordination Problems and Mechanisms to Match Demand for Data with Supply

Andrew Young — March 17, 2017

In the latest issue of Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Network Chief of Research Stefaan Verhulst, Iryna Susha of Örebro University and Marijn Janssen from the Delft University of Technology explore challenges and coordination mechanisms to advance the field of data collaboratives. Data collaboratives are a new form of collaboration, beyond the public-private partnership model, in which participants from different sectors — in particular companies – exchange their data to create public value.



In “data collaboratives” private and public organizations coordinate their activities to leverage data to address a societal challenge. This paper focuses on analyzing challenges and coordination mechanisms of data collaboratives.


This study uses coordination theory to identify and discuss the coordination problems and coordination mechanisms associated with data collaboratives. We also use a taxonomy of data collaborative forms from a previous empirical study to discuss how different forms of data collaboratives may require different coordination mechanisms.


The study analyzed data collaboratives from the perspective of organizational and task levels. At the organizational level we argue that data collaboratives present an example of the bazaar form of coordination. At the task level we identified five coordination problems and discussed potential coordination mechanisms to address them, such as coordination by negotiation, by third party, by standardization, to name a few.

Research limitations/implications

This study is one of the first few to systematically analyze the phenomenon of “data collaboratives”.

Practical implications

This study can help practitioners understand better the coordination challenges they may face when initiating a data collaborative and to develop successful data collaboratives by using coordination mechanisms to mitigate these challenges.


Data collaboratives is a novel form of data-driven initiatives which have seen rapid experimentation lately. This study draws attention to this concept in academic literature and highlights some of the complexities of organizing them in practice.

Read more here.