Voices for Change : the search for authentic engagement in public sector decisions

  • Nicole Moore

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis aims to determine which codesign and deliberative engagement conditions enhance authentic engagement in public sector decisions. Uniquely, the thesis integrates expertise from two distinct approaches to public engagement, codesign and deliberative engagements. Combined, both approaches offer significant insights into critical conditions that must be in place to achieve authentic engagement.
    The research was undertaken through three distinct stages, including, a systematic review of variables that appear to influence outcomes in both codesign and deliberative engagements, the validation of variables for relevance and measurability, and finally a small-n qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) of seven codesign and deliberative engagement cases.
    The thesis concludes that creating equal power balances between participants (publics and professionals) combined with connecting participant generated recommendations directly to formal decision-making authorities, leads to authentic engagement in public sector decisions. The thesis demonstrates that both of these conditions are necessary, but insufficient on their own.
    The thesis also demonstrates the need to reimagine what quality engagement processes look like in a contemporary public service context with a view to enhancing co-production and consumer driven participation in decision making processes. Finally, the thesis provides a typological framework for understanding public sector engagements according to the various voices privileged (public, professional or both) and the frame of thinking favoured in the process design (creative or critical). The thesis therefore makes a significant theoretical, empirical and practical contribution to our understanding of what works in public sector engagements.
    Date of Award2021
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMark Evans (Supervisor) & Simon Niemeyer (Supervisor)

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