Andrew Chadwick (2011) “Explaining the Failure of an Online Citizen Engagement Initiative: The Role of Internal Institutional Variables” Journal of Information Technology and Politics 8 (1): 21-40.
This article presents an exploratory case study based on fieldwork consisting of in-depth, semistructured interviews and group discussions with administrative, legal, political, and technology staff involved in an online citizen engagement initiative in “TechCounty,” a pseudonymous U.S. local government authority operating in one of the most favorable sociodemographic and technological contexts imaginable. In contrast with many of the dominant approaches in the literature, the article reveals how a rich, complex, and sometimes surprising array of internal institutional variables explains the initiative’s failure. The article highlights the fragile and uncertain adoption of online engagement by public organizations and the significance of this study’s method for building theory and guiding future research.
Keywords: Citizen engagement; democracy; e-democracy; governance; Internet; online consultation; online forums; organizations; public services.