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Sandström, Tove, 2009. To talk or to communicate? : a study on the prerequisites for communication in public consultation meetings . Second cycle, A1E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



The aim with this study was to investigate the communication that takes place in public
consultation meetings. My intention was to study and analyze both attitudes about the
communication, as well as the factual behavior at the meetings, in order to found possible
potential for improvement.

In order to fulfill my aim I interviewed six people that were working with public consultation
meetings in one way or another. I also observed three public consultation meetings. The
information provided to me by the interviewees corresponded quite well with my own
observations. The overall conclusion I have reached is that there are many potential changes
from which the communication in public consultation meetings would gain.

In many aspects the meetings I observed were not conducted in a democratic way and the
meetings had more in common with meetings of information rather than meetings of dialogue.
However both participants and process leaders would like to see more influence given to the
participants and in this study I suggest that by doing so, several communication problems
could be avoided at the same time as it would deepen democracy and give greater legitimacy
to decisions that is being taken in relation to the meetings. Suggestively, this increased
influence could be gained by letting the participants take part in deciding about the agenda for
the meetings. The them-and-us feeling, which according to my findings also leads to
communicational difficulties, could also be reduced with the participants’ greater influence.

The meetings I observed and the interviews I conducted were all related to very different
consultation situation. The study and its conclusion therefore become quite general. The need
for some kind of change in all of the meetings however indicates that it would be interesting
to look even further into each case and I believe that the meetings would gain from compiling
my specific findings with the process leaders understanding of the meetings. I suggest that all
people in the position of leading public consultation meetings should think and reflect upon
the democratic aspects as well as the purpose of such meetings in order to improve their

Main title:To talk or to communicate?
Subtitle:a study on the prerequisites for communication in public consultation meetings
Authors:Sandström, Tove
Supervisor:Hallgren, Lars
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2009
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A1E
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:participation, public consultation meetings, communication, democratic conversations, influence
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Public administration
Documentation and information
Deposited On:04 Nov 2009 14:35
Metadata Last Modified:20 Apr 2012 14:10

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