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Does public consultation encourage social participation?

Flavio Saab (Universidade de Brasilia (UnB), Brasilia, Brazil)
Paulo Henrique de Souza Bermejo (Research & Development Center for Excellence and Transformation of the Public Sector (NEXT), Universidade de Brasilia (UnB), Brasilia, Brazil)
Gustavo Cunha Garcia (Universidade de Brasilia (UnB), Brasilia, Brazil)
Jonathan Soares Pereira (Universidade de Brasilia (UnB), Brasilia, Brazil)
Suylan de Almeida Midlej e Silva (Universidade de Brasilia (UnB), Brasilia, Brazil)

Journal of Enterprise Information Management

ISSN: 1741-0398

Article publication date: 13 August 2018

Issue publication date: 30 August 2018

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Abstract

Purpose

Social participation or public participation is a mechanism that aims to enable decision makers to understand the real needs of society and to promote more appropriate and acceptable public policies. The purpose of this paper is to analyze, through Douglasian Cultural Theory, the public-consultation mechanism, and to what extent it encourages the participation of people with different points of view in the formulation of public policies.

Design/methodology/approach

This research paper uses theoretical propositions from Douglasian Cultural Theory to investigate the process of public consultation adopted by the Brazilian National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) in the formulation of public policies for Brazil’s health sector.

Findings

The results contribute to the findings of previous studies, i.e., that social participation is unequal, and that some points of view are dominant in policy formulation. This indicates that public managers should seek mechanisms of participation that promote more inclusive and pluralistic public participation.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitations of this study are the subjectivity inherent in the classification of “voices” in Douglasian Cultural Theory, the small number of contributions analyzed and the absence of some unpublished data.

Originality/value

The analysis contributes to the literature by supporting some and rejecting other propositions of Douglasian Cultural Theory, as well as indicating possible potential from this theory through public administration in the evaluation of mechanisms of social participation.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

A previous version of this paper (Saab et al., 2017) was presented at the European Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Conference on Information Systems (EMCIS, 2017). The authors would like to thank the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq-Brazil), Process 402789/2015-6, for the financial support provided for this study. The authors also would like to thank the Editor and anonymous reviewers from the Journal of Enterprise Information Management (JEIM) for their valuable contributions, including important recommendations to make the research method more robust, a useful lesson learned in this research project.

Citation

Saab, F., Bermejo, P.H.d.S., Garcia, G.C., Pereira, J.S. and e Silva, S.d.A.M. (2018), "Does public consultation encourage social participation?", Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 796-814. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEIM-11-2017-0169

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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