Conflict or Consensus? The role of Public Administrators Facilitating Processes of Citizen Participation

Bidragets oversatte titel: Konsensus eller konflikt?: offentlige forvalteres rolle i borgerinddrageles processer

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskningpeer review


Many contemporary reforms of the public sector advocate for more direct involvement of citizens as a means to improve both the efficiency of public services, as well as to enhance the input legitimacy of local democracy. While there has been mushrooming literature of case studies addressing new forms of institutional design of citizen participation processes, less attention has been paid to the role of public administrators, and their role in facilitating processes of citizen participation. Public administrators have to work with diverse groups of citizens with diverging, and often conflicting, interests. However, many public administrators have not been adequately exposed to the rationales of conflicts and the skills in resolving conflicts. The aim of this paper is to analyse the different types of conflicts that public administrators experience in formal processes of citizen involvement. Whereas the literature of deliberative democracy claims that consensus is most often the result of rational deliberative processes, the claim of this paper is that conflicts is more likely a natural and integrated part of such deliberative acts. Conflicts are, thus, seen as inevitable. Also conflicts may function as drivers for innovation, provided they are carefully managed. However, we claim that more focus on different types of conflicts and the handling of these conflicts is important in public administration and processes of citizen participation.

The paper, thus, aims at connecting the knowledge from vast literature on conflicts and conflict solution with the field of public administration. The article calls for giving more attention to conflict studies on the part of public administration scholars. Hence, the paper has in addition to its analytical aim a prescriptive aim of providing those public administrators working on every-day basis with citizen involvement with a better understanding of conflicts and how to resolve conflicts. The empirical part is based on previous qualitative studies with public administrators that worked as facilitators in urban regeneration projects and in local environmental centres in Denmark.
Bidragets oversatte titelKonsensus eller konflikt?: offentlige forvalteres rolle i borgerinddrageles processer
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 2010
BegivenhedEGPA Annual Conference - 2001 - Vaasa, Finland
Varighed: 5 sep. 20018 sep. 2001


KonferenceEGPA Annual Conference - 2001

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