Cultural biases and information for co-production


Sue Baines, Mike Bull, Val Antcliff and Lynn Martin


This article is about evidencing the social value of co-produced public services. We use Mary Douglas’s theory of cultural biases to frame conflicting assumptions about what kinds of information count as good and reliable. With its emphasis on active participation, equality and mutual support, co-production fits an ‘egalitarian’ worldview. It aligns well with contextual, experiential forms of information such as storytelling. Yet this cultural bias co-exists with alternatives that favour individual choice, hierarchical rules, or chance outcomes. It is comfortable but ineffective to share only information that meets the preferences of one cultural bias and fails to respond to others.

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Full reference

Baines, S., Bull, M., Antcliff, V.& Martin, L.  (2021). ‘Good stories get lost in bureaucracy!’ Cultural biases and information for co-production. Public Money & Management (published on-line ahead of print)