Linking Governance and Performance: ICANN as an Internet Hybrid by Lee, Maeng Joo

Abstract: ICANN is a hybrid organization managing the most critical Internet infrastructure – the Domain Name System. ICANN represents a new, emerging Internet self-governance model in which the private sector takes the lead and the government sector plays a more marginal role. Little is known, however, about what is actually happening in this new organization.The dissertation (a) systematically assesses ICANN’s overall performance based on a set of evaluative criteria drawn from its mission statements; (b) explores possible factors and actors that influence ICANN’s overall performance by tracing the governance processes in three cases based on a preliminary conceptual framework; and (c) suggests practical and theoretical implications of ICANN’s governance and performance in its broader institutional context.The study finds that although differing governance processes have led to different performance outcomes (Lynn et al. 2000), “stability” has been the defining value that has shaped the overall path of ICANN’s governance and performance. The study characterizes ICANN as a conservative hybrid captured, based on specific issues, by the technical and governmental communities. It also proposes the concept of “technical capture” to suggest how technical experts can have significant, but often implicit, influence over the policy development process in organizations.This dissertation was submitted to the faculty of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy In Public Administration and Public Affairs and can be downloaded from the Digital Library and Archives at: