Organizing Learning Processes of Co-Production: A Theoretical View

Organizing Learning Processes of Co-Production: A Theoretical View

Julie Borup Jensen, Anja Overgaard Thomassen
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4975-9.ch001
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This chapter addresses questions about possible theoretical and philosophical perspectives implied in the processual approach to co-production presented in this book. The chapter presents experiential learning perspectives on this matter, and also introduces action research as one research area that seems relevant for co-production as a processual phenomenon. This learning and action-based theoretical perspective is, however, not only an abstraction; it is also very closely related to practice in that its core interest is processes in relations between human beings. The chapter concludes with a brief presentation of reflection as an inseparable part of co-creation processes and points to theoretical and philosophical implications of this.
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As mentioned above, collaborative approaches to welfare services have gained increasing interest during the last five to ten years, claiming to provide an alternative to New Public Management in the public sector (Pestoff, 2018), which has had a major influence on Western public sector systems, institutions and organisations in recent decades. With its well-described, explicit focus on fiscal accountability, performance measurement, efficiency, and process regulation, NPM has been criticized, both by actors within and outside the sector and by researchers, for potential alienation and pacification of citizens in relation to public sector institutions (Pestoff, 2018; Gouillart & Hallertt, 2015; Wiesel & Modell, 2012). Some researchers point to NPM-inspired language and logics, where citizens are seen as “customers” or even “consumers” of public sector services, as alienating and pacifying factors (Loeffler & Bovaird, 2018). Other researchers see NPM dynamics as disempowering and reducing the public sector institutions and staff to mere “service providers” for resourceful citizens on the one hand, and, paradoxically enough, as power instruments, limiting individual flourishing for citizens in weak social positions on the other (Wiesel & Modell, 2014; Ostrom, 1996).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Experience: Learning, reflection, and building of habits, occasioned by and related to given actions in given social contexts

Contextualization: The conditions and terms under which social processes play out, and the outcome of particular processes playing out between given individuals in given situations.

Learning in Organizations: meaningful change of interactional habits and social processes in ways that creates conditions for new experience, action and practice for the actors involved.

Emergence: The way that planned and unplanned change occurs and plays out, potentially creating unexpected value.

Reflection: Transformational process that brings into attention basic assumptions, habits, and worldviews in ways that paves the way for change of thinking, acting and interacting in relations between people.

Action Research: Research carried out involving actors concerned with value-creating change of practice in a given context.

Organization: Organizing interaction and social processes in ways that creates conditions for meaningful action and practice for the actors involved.

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