Organisational information behaviour in the public consultation process in Scotland.
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BAXTER, G., MARCELLA, R. and ILLINGWORTH, L., 2010. Organisational information behaviour in the public consultation process in Scotland. Information Research, 15 (4), Paper 442.
This study explored the information behaviour of representative groups in responding to Scottish Government consultations. It investigated how organizations find out about relevant consultations, how they go about gathering information in preparation for submitting a response and how they find out about the results of consultations to which they have contributed. Method. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with individuals usually responsible for preparing or coordinating their organization's consultation responses. Data were collected from fifty-four groups. Analysis. Interviews were recorded digitally and transcribed. These transcripts were then analysed to identify the important themes and issues emerging. Results. A wide range of behaviour was identified, often dependent on the subject and complexities of the consultation, its perceived importance to the group, and the timescale and organizational resources available. The study also revealed idiosyncratic and flawed Scottish Government processes, particularly in identifying and informing potential consultees, and in providing post-consultation feedback. Conclusions. While some organizations displayed the characteristics of influential 'insider groups', these groups were not always the most active in terms of information seeking. Further research is required into the relationships between insider status, informedness and the effectiveness of engagement in the Scottish Government's policy making process.