Research projects seek answers to how societal decision-making can benefit from collaboration

Professor Stefan Sjöblom has been granted nearly 480,000 euros from the Academy of Finland for the project DemGo, ”Democratic Government as Procedural Legitimacy. How do coordinative and collaborative arrangements enhance democratic qualities of government?”

How are responsibilities redefined and practices redesigned when policy development and execution increasingly rest on coordinative and collaborative mechanisms such as partnerships, networks, projects, digitalisation, and algorithmic governance? What is the role of the state? How do solutions for collaboration, coordination, and digitalisation work in practice? 

These are questions that the project DemGo seeks to answer. The starting point is that societal decision-making requires more and more cooperation and coordination.

– No matter what challenge you take, whether it is employment, housing and construction, climate or immigration, it is rarely an individual municipality, authority, a company or an organization that can achieve very much alone, says Professor Stefan Sjöblom, who leads the project.

More and mor of everything that we do is based on cooperation and coordination, and that is one of the most important changes in public decision-making that has gradually taken place over the last 30 to 40 years.

Relying on extensive data sets and multiple methods, DemGo analyses the consequences of solutions for decision-making, policy development and implementation. The democratic qualities of designated solutions generated through administrative reform policies in Finland, covering a period from the 2008 financial crisis to the current Covid19 crisis. Comparing the finding with other similar countries, particularly Sweden, Denmark and New Zealand, a practical purpose is to develop functioning practices for coordination and collaboration in future policymaking.

The project has been granted 477,560 euros for the period 01.09.2021 - 31.08.2025 from the Academy of Finland. The research group includes Sebastian Godenhjelm, Jaakko Hillo, Niilo Kauppi, Kanerva Kuokkanen, Johan Munck af Rosenschöld, Marjukka Weide, Isak Vento and Kim Zilliacus.

Stefan Sjöblom is Professor of Local Government and Vice-Rector in charge of research at the Swedish School of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. His research focuses mainly on public administration, governance and local and regional development. Sjöblom leads the research network Democracy, political participation and institutional change.