Uplifting Citizens' Participation: A Gov 2.0 Conceptual Framework

Aladalah, Mohammed; Yen Cheung; Lee, Vincent
January 2015
Proceedings of the European Conference on e-Government;2015, p1
Conference Proceeding
The rise of digital citizens is no longer a speculation; therefore, governments' use of Web 2.0 tools (hereafter Gov 2.0) should be a part of all current and future e-government plans. Recent literature has emphasised Gov 2.0 as a possibility for greater communication, participation, and collaboration with citizens. However, citizens' participation levels in Gov 2.0 have not met to the hype. Despite their importance and potential, our understanding of the value of Gov 2.0 is limited. Systematic studies addressing citizens' participation in Gov 2.0 are sparse. In the absence of prior work, this paper uses empowerment theory in a new context (Gov2.0) and investigates the role of citizens' empowerment in increasing citizens' participation in Gov 2.0. We conducted an extensive review of egovernment and empowerment literature, in order to form a sound theoretical explanation of this phenomenon. This paper seeks to identify factors derived from empowerment theory that influence citizens' participation in Gov 2.0 to develop a conceptual framework to enhance understanding of citizens' participation in Gov 2.0. Further, the paper extends the theory of empowerment by showing that higher levels of satisfaction and empowerment can increase citizens' participation in Gov 2.0. A further positive outcome of citizens' empowerment is higher levels of satisfaction with Gov 2.0. Three constructs have been found to influence citizens' participation in Gov 2.0, namely, citizens' empowerment process, citizens' empowerment outcomes, and citizens' satisfaction with Gov 2.0. Our conceptual framework indicates that these three constructs should feature and enhance trust, satisfaction, and commitment; and the outcomes lead to increased citizen loyalty, and higher participation levels in Gov 2.0. These suggestions make a strong case for citizens' empowerment in Gov 2.0 to enhance the public value. The framework is expected to benefit both citizens and government agencies that wish to enhance their Gov 2.0 activities. Citizens will enjoy a higher sense of control, including having an equal relationship with the government agency. Government agencies decision-makers can benefit from new insights into citizens' participation and enhanced citizen experiences. This paper is expected to make two significant contributions: (1) extension of empowerment theory and its role in increasing citizens participation in Gov 2.0; and (2) provide a framework for better understanding of citizens' participation in Gov 2.0. Both, preliminary evidence for the framework and general implications for research are discussed.


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