Breaking Through Stereotypes of Policymakers
O ne dimension of our research and policy cultures is similar-inhabitants of each community often stereotype whatever they do not understand about the other community. For example, who hasn’t heard policymakers stereotyped as egotistical, opportunistic, and self-serving? Who among us is not aware of instances where researchers are referred to as eggheads, nerds, and absent-minded professors? What academic wouldn’t bristle at being referred to in the way that Karen’s young son used to introduce her to his friends: “My mom’s a doctor, but not the kind that does you any good at all!” Policymakers and researchers are easy for naysayers to stereotype. If these stereotypes remain unchallenged, they can result in entrenched misperceptions that can strain communication and sabotage efforts to collaborate across these conflicting cultures.