Kieran Donohoe

BA (Hons) MA DBS

Associate Lecturer

Life Long Learning, Wexford Campus
e:      t: 053 9185800
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-3915-4352

  • Research Interests
  • Publications
  • Research Supervision
  • Engagement and Collaboration

Research Interests

Collaborative Governanace and Youth Work Policy: A study of Youth Work Committee dynamics, actions and local policy impacts

Abstract: Collaborative governance theories are well debated, however the current body of knowledge identifies evaluating productivity in a collaborative governance setting as problematic, with calls for research into this gap in the literature.  Currently, data is needed to understand the policy impacts and the productivity performance of collaborative actions. 

To address this gap, the aim of this thesis study is to explore how collaborative governance enables actions that produce policy impacts.  To achieve this, the study focuses on Youth Work Committees (YWCs) in Ireland because they work largely on a collaborative governance model.  It investigates how YWCs function (Research Question 1, RQ1), and how their collaborative actions produce local youth work policy impacts on the ground (Research Question 2, RQ2).  To answer these questions, the theory suggests considering the relationships between the key concepts of context, drivers, dynamics, actions, and impacts. 

To explore how YWC stakeholders work together effectively in youth work policy implementation, data from a cross-section of their experiences was gathered from sixteen digital interviews.  This provided detailed perceptions of the relationships between the concepts being examined.  The conceptual framework used to operationalise, analyse and interpret this qualitative data was adapted from Emerson et al.’s 2012’s Integrative Framework. 

Six findings are based on the themes and subthemes that emerged from the data.  Concerning the functioning of YWCs (RQ1), it was found that YWCs function in a consistent and effective manner when working collaboratively (dynamics) and focus on achieving better policy outcomes for young people.  On productivity performance (RQ2), it was found that YWCs alter conditions for local youth populations in four ways: young people’s interests are enabled by YWCs (actions); there is local decision-maker support for these interests; YWCs identify resources to produce better outcomes; and collaborative efforts added value and produced enhanced facilities for young people (impacts). 

This thesis study makes both theoretical and practical contributions that address the gap identified in the literature.  It informs the debate on collaborative governance process and productivity performance, and the enabling factors.  Collaboration dynamics enable actions that are likely to effect change in response to intended policy outcomes.  From a youth work practice perspective, the study also contributes to an understanding of how collaborative governance in YWCs enhances the effective oversight of limited resources to deliver actions and achieve identifiable outcomes.  Therefore, the study concludes that when certain factors are present in collaborative governance settings, their actions produce policy impacts. 


To profit from governance in the not-for-profit-sector - A study of the journey from conformance to performance for FDYS

The professional problem explored is that there was no evidence-framework to support claims that the governance journey was benefitting my organisation.  A corporate decision was made to meet governance requirements, but the organisation had little evidence that the work was worth the efforts being invested.  It was feared that corporate governance was associated with cost rather than value:  the cost of introducing governance structures; and, the cost of compliance.  Was Governance to be viewed from a conformance viewpoint, where standards, codes and processes are prioritised? Or, was it to be viewed from a more opportunistic performance viewpoint?

The research is based on the hypothesis that Government legislation and regulation cannot guarantee good corporate governance in the not-for-profit sector.  This paper concludes that for the chosen case study (FDYS), there is an intrinsic hunger for good governance at every level of management and decision making.  Evidence gleaned from the research demonstrates that there is a healthy respect for governance responsibilities and demonstrates that there is a perceived link between good governance and the performance of the organisation.

Research Supervision

Current Research Students
  • MA Student SETU Carlow – researching the value of Restorative Practice in Youth Justice
  • BA Early Childhood Students (X5) – studying various aspects of early years learning and childcare.

Engagement and Collaboration