The two preceding chapters have prepared the way for a return to the major puzzles and paradoxes generated by the empirical data presented in chapter 7. The central question to be addressed is what were the reasons for ‘failure’ in terms of the rational, comprehensive and synoptic (i.e. ‘optimistic’) approach to coordination.
Alongside this, the examples of limited but perhaps unexpected ‘success’ likewise demand explanation. Why should coordination apparently succeed in one arena, or for a particular tracer and in certain localities and yet not in others? What were the crucial factors?
We have identified a range of variables within the barriers, opportunities, costs and benefits taxonomy. We have seen that the barriers to coordination were formidable, the costs potentially great. Yet we have also found opportunities being sought out and benefits realised, apparently against all odds.
The attempt at weighting the relative strength of barrier, opportunity, cost and benefit variables begins to indicate the explanatory force of particular combinations of factors rather than of discrete variables. If we can reach the point at which these combinations can be specified, we can also approach the issue of whether such conditions can be deliberately replicated: can the prerequisites for successful coordination be constructed? These issues are addressed in the final chapter.