Public Policy

Manifesting Symbolic Representation through Collaborative Policymaking



Collaboration is a widely employed strategy for addressing complex policy problems that impact the interests of a diverse set of stakeholders. Whereas scholars have long recognized that including civil-society groups in collaborative policymaking processes leads to the generation of more impactful policy outputs, little known as to whether such inclusion impacts the belief systems of non-participating individuals who are represented by participating groups. In this article, we bridge and extend concepts from collaborative governance and representative bureaucracy literatures to argue that the representation of civil-society groups in collaborative policymaking-forums can have a transformative impact on the way non-participating community members perceive, and subsequently, interact with participating organizations. Empirically, we assess whether the inclusive representation of civil-society groups within a specific collaborative policing forum impacts citizens’ perceptions towards the main participating agency—the police department—finding that collaborative processes do have positive spillover effects.


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