The snakes and ladders of user involvement: Moving beyond Arnstein

The snakes and ladders of user involvement: Moving beyond Arnstein For 35 years, Arnstein's ladder of citizen participation has been a touchstone for policy makers and practitioners promoting user involvement. This article critically assesses Arnstein's writing in relation to user involvement in health drawing on evidence from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Canada. Arnstein's model, however, by solely emphasizing power, limits effective responses to the challenge of involving users in services and undermines the potential of the user involvement process. Such an emphasis on power assumes that it has a common basis for users, providers and policymakers and ignores the existence of different relevant forms of knowledge and expertise. It also fails to recognise that for some users, participation itself may be a goal. We propose a new model to replace the static image of a ladder and argue that for user involvement to improve health services it must acknowledge the value of the process and the diversity of knowledge and experience of both health professionals and lay people. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Health Policy Elsevier

The snakes and ladders of user involvement: Moving beyond Arnstein

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd
ISSN
0168-8510
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.healthpol.2005.05.008
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

For 35 years, Arnstein's ladder of citizen participation has been a touchstone for policy makers and practitioners promoting user involvement. This article critically assesses Arnstein's writing in relation to user involvement in health drawing on evidence from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Canada. Arnstein's model, however, by solely emphasizing power, limits effective responses to the challenge of involving users in services and undermines the potential of the user involvement process. Such an emphasis on power assumes that it has a common basis for users, providers and policymakers and ignores the existence of different relevant forms of knowledge and expertise. It also fails to recognise that for some users, participation itself may be a goal. We propose a new model to replace the static image of a ladder and argue that for user involvement to improve health services it must acknowledge the value of the process and the diversity of knowledge and experience of both health professionals and lay people.

Journal

Health PolicyElsevier

Published: Apr 1, 2006

References

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