A Subject to Get you Off the Couch: Building Real Connections with Participatory Budgeting

By Peter Demediuk.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Citizen participation in local government budgeting is an important emerging public management reform movement in many countries including Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, Spain, Australia and now Sweden. Participatory budgeting programs bring local communities into the decision-making process around formal resource allocation plans, and have the potential to give new levels of voice and choice about service and infrastructure expenditure to disadvantaged and marginalised citizens and groups. This case study explores the first ‘participatory budgeting’ program to be run by any Swedish local government and examines how the antecedent ‘future workshops’ engagement initiative shaped many of the structures and processes used. The program targeted an area in which inhabitants were quite transitory, under employed, relatively poorer, and less educated that the norm in Sweden. The study details the rather unexpectedly enthusiastic and strong contribution made by participants to the three alternative infrastructure proposals put up for a local community vote, but also highlights the dangers when the good intentions and substantial resources collide with a contrary organizational culture, poorly matched political and managerial frameworks, and a lack of influential receivers and commissioners.

Keywords: Participatory Budgeting, Sweden, Local Government, Marginalised, Disadvantaged, Citizens, Community, Political Frameworks, Management Frameworks, Organisational Culture

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.397-408. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 652.116KB).

Dr. Peter Demediuk

Senior Lecturer, School of Accounting & CTSR, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Peter Demediuk is Director of postgraduate accounting programs at Victoria University in Australia, Visiting Professor in Performance Management at Reims Management School in France, and Visiting researcher at Gothenburg Research Institute in Sweden. Research interests include: critical success factors in small wineries; and how public sector management reforms and ideas travel and are translated in new contexts – especially in the realm of community engagement.

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