Designing Public Participation Processes
John M. Bryson is the McKnight Presidential Professor of Planning and Public Affairs in the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. His interests are in strategic management, leadership, and collaboration. He is author of Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofi t Organizations (4th ed., 2011) and coauthor, with Barbara C. Crosby, of Leadership for the Common Good: Tackling Public Problems in a Shared-Power World (2nd ed., 2005). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathryn S. Quick is assistant professor in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Formerly a public and nonprofi t manager, she now focuses her research and teaching on civic engagement, integrative leadership, and public and nonprofi t management. Through ethnographic research, she studies a diversity of approaches to public engagement across a wide range of policy and planning issues and their consequences for decision outcomes, implementation, and community capacity building. E-mail: email@example.com
Carissa Schively Slotterback is associate professor in the Urban and Regional Planning Program in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Her research is focused on stakeholder involvement and collaborative decision making in environmental, land-use, and transportation planning processes. She holds a doctorate in urban and regional planning from Florida State University and has experience in planning practice in the public and private sectors. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara C. Crosby is associate professor in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. She has taught and written extensively about leadership and public policy, cross-sector collaboration, women in leadership, media and public policy, and strategic planning. She is author of Leadership for Global Citizenship (1999) and coauthor, with John M. Bryson, of Leadership for the Common Good: Tackling Public Problems in a Shared-Power World (2nd ed., 2005). E-mail: email@example.com
The purpose of this Theory to Practice article is to present a systematic, cross-disciplinary, and accessible synthesis of relevant research and to offer explicit evidence-based design guidelines to help practitioners design better participation processes. From the research literature, the authors glean suggestions for iteratively creating, managing, and evaluating public participation activities. The article takes an evidence-based and design science approach, suggesting that effective public participation processes are grounded in analyzing the context closely, identifying the purposes of the participation effort, and iteratively designing and redesigning the process accordingly.