Collaborative and Diverse, but Equitable? A Development of Stakeholder-Informed Lexicons to Systematically Detect Inequity in Decision-Making Processes
Office of Research, UGA
Research team: SPIA, UGA; Environmental and Hydraulic Engineering, Federal University of Ceará, Brazil; South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies, Uruguay.
Research and practice over the past several decades have shown that collaborative governance approaches have grown in popularity for collective problem solving, as it can promote multilateral deliberation and determinations that account for complexities and contentious issues. Yet, collaborative governance is not a panacea. This project speaks to a gap in research on what factors shape procedural inequity in the governance process. Despite the popularity of collaborative governance, the issues of participant representation and procedural equity fall at the heart of whether an arrangement can succeed. Comparatively dominant groups in collaborative processes may co-opt those with a less powerful voice or with fewer resources. This dynamic may prevent trust building and perceived legitimacy of the process. Such dynamics can lead to lack of acceptance and implementation of the decisions made. Systematically identifying the nature of challenges that arise is a critical step to improving equity in collaborative governance.