Better Together: Learning and Change through a Citizen Panel

By Peter Demediuk and Rolf Solli.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines the means (processes and structures) and ends (objectives and outcomes) of a community engagement initiative in a Swedish kommun (local government). Whilst community engagement initiatives that allow degrees of citizen participation in government decision making are part of a growing rhetoric and practice in local governments worldwide, there are gaps in our knowledge of what the real effects are on service delivery decision making, the sustainability of government, and the capacity of citizens and the community. A research framework is developed in this paper to provide a way of conceptualising, interrogating, and story-boarding the means and ends of an engagement initiative. The citizen panel engagement initiative which is explored in this case study appears to operate mainly as an “ideas machine”-in which the public acts as citizen experts (rather than as customers) in ways that produce high levels of learning that translate to changes in decision making, government capabilities, and community capacity.

Keywords: Learning, Local Government, Sweden, Citizen Panel, Community Engagement, Organisational Change, Citizen Participation

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp.9-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 879.783KB).

Dr. Peter Demediuk

Senior Lecturer, School of Accounting and CTSR, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dr. Peter Demediuk is the course director of postgraduate accounting courses at Victoria University, Australia; a visiting professor in performance management at Reims Management School, France; and a visiting researcher at Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI), Sweden. His areas of research are critical success factors in small wineries, the means and ends of guided tours, and public sector reforms.

Prof. Rolf Solli

Professor, School of Public Administration, University of Gothenburg, Gotheburg, Gothburg, Sweden

Rolf Solli is a Professor and Director of the Goteborg Research Institute and specialises in public administration and managing big cities.

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