Date of Award

Winter 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering

Committee Director

Charles Keating

Committee Member

Adrian Gheorghe

Committee Member

Patrick Hester

Committee Member

James Pyne


The purpose of this research was to develop and deploy a systems-based framework for analysis of complex governance systems using a multimethodology research design. Two research gaps motivated this research: (1) lack of an integrated conceptualization of a system governance construct, (2) an absence of studies that consider both the governed and governing systems as well as the emergent interactions that arise from within complex governance systems.

The research focused on three primary questions: (1) What are the distinctive characteristics of governance?; (2) What system-based framework can be developed for analysis of governance in complex systems?, and (3) What results from deployment of the framework in a field setting? The multimethodology research design that guided the effort included three primary phases. First, the literature was synthesized to derive a set of governance elements. This synthesis was accomplished across an extensive and multidisciplinary literature set by a novel method of content document clustering analysis to reveal important elements of governance. Second, a conceptual framework for analysis of system governance was constructed from the confluence of extant governance literature and systems theory. This governance system analysis framework was informed by Bunge's (2003) system perspective to advance the understanding of governance that will be meaningful in a given practice. Finally, a case based application of the analysis framework was conducted to examine implications of the framework from a field perspective.

The original research provided contributions to theory, methodology, and practice. From a theoretical perspective, the research contributed to the body of knowledge by providing: (1) a literature derived set of generalizable elements of governance, and (2) the development of a systems-based framework to be used to analyze complex governance systems. From a methodological stand-point, the research advanced an integrated multimethodology research design that featured: (1) a novel content analysis approach for synthesis of diverse literature; (2) the development of an integrated systems analysis method; and (3) a rigorous single-case study application within the engineering management discipline. Lastly, from a practical perspective, the systems framework provided a foundation for derivative approaches to enhance practices related to system governance.