The present paper describes the interplay between the “why” and “how” in co-production based on a case study of community-based healthcare in Denmark involving municipalities and voluntary sports clubs. So far, policy practice and research have focussed on the “why” – the rationales and pre-requisites – of co-production. However, there seems to be a lack of knowledge about the “how” of co-production in the interplay between professionals and volunteers. The paper asks how co-production is being perceived and practised according to existing norms and objectives of public healthcare and civil society, drawing on the theory of institutional logics.
The paper uses a critical case study approach to examine the practice of co-production. The analysis builds on qualitative data from nine semi-structured interviews, two information interviews and project documents. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and coded.
This paper demonstrates that compatibility of institutional logics was not given, nor did the co-existence of potentially competing logics necessarily result in conflict in co-production. Instead, in this case study co-production emerged as highly contingent, reflecting the dynamic interaction between logics and context-specific management.
This paper makes an original contribution to the conceptual understanding of co-production in emphasising the benefit of paying attention to the network logic when building bridges between public healthcare and civil society – and to unite the seemingly contradictory “why” and “how” of co-production in practice.
The authors thank the persons involved in “Out in nature” for their willingness to make time available for interviews and to share their experiences with the authors. The authors would also like to thank DGI for providing additional material and background information.
Rasmussen, L.G., Skjerning, H.T. and Burau, V. (2023), "The why and how of co-production between professionals and volunteers: a qualitative study of community-based healthcare in Denmark", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 43 No. 1/2, pp. 197-213. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-01-2022-0027
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