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Deadline: 31 March 2020

Learning from success, near miss and failure

Mistakes, errors and failures—whatever language is used—are often treated as problematic in policing—as in other public services—with expectations that blame, investigation and sanction may closely follow. But does that have to be the default position? A number of public organizations and some regulatory bodies are recognizing that failure can come from several sources and have different value, so that individual fault and blame is not the only response. Furthermore, academic research shows that failures can be intelligent and even necessary in particular contexts, with a spectrum of failure from ‘blameworthy’ to ‘praiseworthy’. Even learning from success is not as easy as it sounds, with sometimes the wrong conclusions drawn from the right data, or success being hard to handle.

Part of the focus is on learning. How does learning from failure occur? What about near misses? Why are successes so hard to learn from? This PMM theme aims to examine aspects of learning processes, including the new science of learning analytics, the emotional basis of effective learning, making valuable and ‘necessary mistakes’ in innovation and pilot programmes; the advantages and pitfalls of celebrating success; and learning from the experiences and the research evidence from other sectors. The theme builds on presentations to the Annual Conference of the Centre for Policing Research and Learning at The Open University where this theme is being explored, in policing, in local government, health and with other sectors.  

Papers are invited whether or not they were presented at this conference.

Submission Guidelines

The editors of the themed issue are seeking three types of paper.

Main papers: These are up to 8,000 words (including references). Papers must be suitable for both academic and reflective practitioner readers and will be double-blind refereed by both an academic and a practitioner.

Debate articles: These are up to 1,000 words, and offer distinctive, provocative comments and arguments (so long as they are also considered), perhaps from the world of practice.

New development articles: These are up to 2,500 words and describe innovations or changes to practice.

Debate and new development articles are not sent for review but are subject to guest editorial review.

Enquiries can be made to Richard Harding or Nicky Miller. The guest editors are working as a team and decisions will be made collectively.

Submissions should be made through the ScholarOne portal used by Public Money & Management, details of which can be found on the journal’s website. The deadline is 31 March 2020.

About PMM

PMM publishes papers which are of interest both to academics and practitioners. It aims to integrate theory and practice in public management both in the UK and internationally. It is well-established as a journal, having been founded nearly 40 years ago. Its articles tend to be highly cited.

Articles are refereed by academics and practitioners to ensure quality and practical impact.

Public Money & Management

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Guest Editors:

Centre for Policing Research and Learning, The Open University

  • Jean Hartley
  • Richard Harding
  • Nicky Miller
  • Zoe Walkington

Thames Valley Police and Chair of the Centre for Policing Research and Learning

  • Steven Chase

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