A Survey of Civic Engagement Tools and Capabilities of City and County Government Web Sites

Samuel C Mwangi 1 *
More Detail
1 Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA
* Corresponding Author
Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 11, Issue 4, Article No: e202123. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/11255
OPEN ACCESS   70 Views   56 Downloads   Published online: 06 Oct 2021
Download Full Text (PDF)

ABSTRACT

Innovations in web technology have the potential to help city and county governments improve their delivery of services and engage local communities in governance. Using civic engagement theories and best practices of online civic engagement, this research project audits 100 local government sites for their civic engagement capabilities. Results indicate that most cities and county governments place a heavy emphasis on using their websites to streamline delivery of services and little effort in promoting citizen participation and democracy. Building on Musso’s model that distinguishes between managerial versus democratic models of engagement for government websites, we suggest a civic engagement model for local governments that goes beyond service delivery and emphasizes the participation of citizens in the local democratic process.

CITATION

Mwangi, S. C. (2021). A Survey of Civic Engagement Tools and Capabilities of City and County Government Web Sites. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 11(4), e202123. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/11255

REFERENCES

  • Arnstein, S. R. (1969). A ladder of citizen participation. Journal of the American Institute of planners, 35(4), 216-224. https://doi.org/10.1080/01944366908977225
  • Bennett, W. L. (2000). Introduction: Communication and civic engagement in comparative perspective. Political Communication, 17, 307-312. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584600050178889
  • Berelson, B. (1952). Content analysis in communication research. Free Press.
  • Bertot, J. C., Jaeger, P. T., & Grimes, J. M. (2010). Using ICTs to create a culture of transparency: E-government and social media as openness and anti-corruption tools for societies. Government Information Quarterly, 27(3), 264-271. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2010.03.001
  • Bertot, J. C., Jaeger, P. T., & Hansen, D. (2012). The impact of polices on government social media usage: Issues, challenges, and recommendations. Government Information Quarterly, 29(1), 30-40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2011.04.004
  • Bimber, B. (1998). The Internet and political transformation: Populism, community, and accelerated pluralism. https://doi.org/10.2307/3235370
  • Bimber, B. (1999). The Internet and citizen communication with government: Does the medium matter? Political Communication, 16, 409-428. https://doi.org/10.1080/105846099198569
  • Bimber, B. (2000). The study of information technology and civic engagement. Political Communication, 17, 329-333. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584600050178924
  • Blumler, J., & Gurevitch, M. (2001). The new media and our political communication discontents: Democratizing cyberspace. Information Communication and Society, 4(1), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691180122174
  • Boczkowski, P. (2004). Digitizing the news: Innovation in online newspapers. MIT Press. https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/2435.001.0001
  • Bonsón, E., Torres, L., Royo, S., & Flores, F. (2012). Local e-government 2.0: Social media and corporate transparency in municipalities. Government Information Quarterly, 29(2), 123-132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2011.10.001
  • Brody, R. A. (1978). The puzzle of political participation in America. In A. King (Ed.), The new American political system (pp. 287-324). American Enterprise Institute.
  • Bucy, E. (2004). Second generation net news: Interactivity and information accessibility in the online environment. International Journal on Media Management, 6, 102-113. https://doi.org/10.1080/14241277.2004.9669386
  • Carpini, D. (2000). Gen.com: Youth, civic engagement, and the new information environment. Political Communication, 17, 341-349. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584600050178942
  • Carter, L., & Belanger, F. (2004). Citizen adoption of e-government initiatives. https://doi.org/10.1109/HICSS.2004.1265306
  • Carter, L., & Belanger, F. (2005). The utilization of e-government services: Citizen trust, innovation and acceptance factors. Information Systems Journal, 15, 5-25. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2575.2005.00183.x
  • Cassell, C. A., & Luskin, R. C. (1988). Simple explanations of turnout decline. American Political Science Review, 82(4), 1321-1330. https://doi.org/10.2307/1961763
  • Chau, P. Y. K. (1996). An empirical assessment of a modified technology acceptance model. Journal of Management Information Systems, 13(2), 185-204. https://doi.org/10.1080/07421222.1996.11518128
  • CIRCLE (2003). The civic mission of schools. The Carnegie Corporation of New York.
  • Clift, S. L. (2004). E-government and democracy. Representation and citizen engagement in the information age, 40.
  • Coalition for Civic Engagement and Leadership. (2004). A working definition of civic engagement. www.nlu.nl.edu/cec/upload/Working-Definition-of-Civic-Engagement.pdf
  • Danziger, J. N., Dutton, W. H., Kling, R., & Kraemer, K. L. (1982). Computers and politics: High technology in American local governments. Columbia University Press.
  • Davis, F. D. (1989). Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Quarterly, 13, 319-339. https://doi.org/10.2307/249008
  • Delli Carpini, M. X. (2000). Gen.com: Youth, civic engagement, and the new information environment. Political Communication, 17, 341-349. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584600050178942
  • Dutta-Bergman, M. J. (2005). Access to the Internet in the Context of Community Participation and Community Satisfaction. New Media & Society, 7(1), 89-109. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444805049146
  • Dwivedi, Y. K., Rana, N. P., Tajvidi, M., Lal, B., Sahu, G. P., & Gupta, A. (2017, March). Exploring the role of social media in e-government: an analysis of emerging literature. In Proceedings of the 10th international conference on theory and practice of electronic governance (pp. 97-106). https://doi.org/10.1145/3047273.3047374
  • Fishkin, J. S. (1991). Democracy and deliberation: New directions for democratic reform. Yale University Press.
  • Gutmann, A., & Thompson, D. (1996). Democracy and disagreement. Harvard University Press.
  • Habermas, J. (1989). The structural transformation of the public sphere. MIT Press.
  • Habermas, J. (1992). Further reflections on the public sphere (T. Burger, Trans.). In C. Calhoun (Ed.), Herbamas and the public sphere. MIT Press.
  • Habermas, J. (1996). Between facts and norms: Contributions to a discourse theory of law and democracy (W. Rehg, Trans.). MIT Press. https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/1564.001.0001
  • Hacker, K. L., & van Dijk, J. (Eds.) (2000). Digital democracy: Issues of theory and practice. Sage. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446218891
  • Hand, L. C., & Ching, B. D. (2011). “You have one friend request” An exploration of power and citizen engagement in local governments’ use of social media. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 33(3), 362-382. https://doi.org/10.2753/ATP1084-1806330303
  • Hasse, A. Q., Wellman, B., Witte, J., & Hampton, K. N. (2002). Capitalizing on the Internet: Network capital, participatory capital and a sense of Community. In B. Wellman & C. Haythornthwaite (Eds.), The Internet and everyday life (pp. 291-324). Blackwell.
  • Hill, K. A., & Hughes, J. E. (1998). Cyberpolitics: Citizen activism in the age of the Internet. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Hsu, M. K., Wang, S. W., & Chiu, K. K. (2009). Computer attitude, statistics anxiety and self-efficacy on statistical software adoption behavior: An empirical study of online MBA learners. Computers in Human Behavior, 25, 412–420. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2008.10.003
  • Jaeger, P. T., & Bertot, J. C. (2010). Transparency and technological change: Ensuring equal and sustained public access to government information. Government Information Quarterly, 27(4), 371-376. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2010.05.003
  • Jeffres, L. W., Atkin, D., & Neuendorf, K. A. (2002). A model linking community activity and communication with political attitudes and involvement in neighborhoods. Political Communication, 19(4), 387-421. https://doi.org/10.1080/01957470290055574
  • Jennings, M. K., & Zeitner, V. (2003). Internet use and civic engagement: A longitudinal analysis. Public Opinion Quarterly, 67(3), 311-334. https://doi.org/10.1086/376947
  • Johnson, T. J., & Kaye, B. K. (1998). The Internet: Vehicle for engagement or a haven for the disaffected? In S. P. Hays (Ed.), Engaging the public: How the government and media can reinvigorate American democracy (pp. 123-135). Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Johnson, T. J., & Kaye, B. K. (2000). Democracy’s rebirth or demise? The influence of the Internet on political attitude. In D. Schultz (Ed.), It’s show time! Media, politics, and popular culture (pp. 209-228). Peter Lang.
  • Kaigo, M., & Okura, S. (2017). Promotion and care of online communities: Necessary elements for a self-sustainable online Facebook community. In Social media and civil society in Japan (pp. 121-151). Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-5095-4_5
  • Kang, S., & Gearhart, S. (2010). E-government and civic engagement: How is citizens’ use of city web sites related with civic involvement and political behaviors?. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 54(3), 443-462. https://doi.org/10.1080/08838151.2010.498847
  • Kavanaugh, A. L., & Patterson, S. J. (2001). The impact of community computer networks on social capital and community involvement. American Behavioral Scientist, 45(3), 469-509. https://doi.org/10.1177/00027640121957312
  • Keeter, S., Zukin, C., Andolina, M., & Jenkins, K. (2002). The civic and political health of the nation: A generational portrait (Report). CIRCLE.
  • Kent Jennings, M., & Zeitner, V. (2003). Internet use and civic engagement: A longitudinal analysis. Public Opinion Quarterly, 67(3), 311-334. https://doi.org/10.1086/376947
  • Kim, Y. C. (2003). Storytelling community: Communication infrastructure and civic engagement in Urban Spaces (Unpublished dissertation), University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
  • Kim, Y. C., & Ball-Rokeach, S. J. (2006). Civic engagement from a communication infrastructure perspective. Communication Theory, 26, 173-197. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2006.00267.x
  • Kinder, D. R. (2002). Pale democracy: Opinion and action in post-war America. In E. D. Mansfield, & R. Sisson (Eds.), The evolution of political knowledge: Theory and inquiry in American politics (pp. 104-162). Ohio State University Press.
  • King, S., & Cotterill, S. (2007). Transformational government? The role of information technology in delivering citizen-centric local public services. Local Government Studies, 33(3), 333-354. https://doi.org/10.1080/03003930701289430
  • Krippendorff, K. (2009). The content analysis reader. Sage.
  • Kwak, N., Williams, A., Wang, X., & Lee, H. (2005). Talking politics and engaging politics: An examination of the interactive relationships between structural features of political talk and discussion engagement. Communication Research, 32(1), 87-111. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650204271400
  • Lederer, A. L., Maupin, D. J., Sena, M. P., & Zhuang, Y. (2000). The technology acceptance model and the World Wide Web. Decision Support Systems, 29, 269-282. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0167-9236(00)00076-2
  • Lee, G., & Kwak, Y. H. (2012). An open government maturity model for social media-based public engagement. Government Information Quarterly, 29(4), 492-503. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2012.06.001
  • Lee, J. (2010). 10 year retrospect on stage models of e-government: A qualitative meta-synthesis. Government Information Quarterly, 27(3), 220-230. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2009.12.009
  • Lidén, G., & Larsson, A. O. (2016). From 1.0 to 2.0: Swedish municipalities online. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 13(4), 339-351. https://doi.org/10.1080/19331681.2016.1169242
  • Lin, F., Fofanah, S. S., & Liang, D. (2011). Assessing citizen adoption of e-Government initiatives in Gambia: A validation of the technology acceptance model in information systems success. Government Information Quarterly, 28(2), 271-279. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2010.09.004
  • Lin, W. Y., & Dutton, W. H. (2003). The ‘Net’ effect in politics: The ‘Stop the overlay’ Campaign in Los Angeles. Party Politics, 9(1), 124-136. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354068803009001723
  • Linders, D. (2012). From e-government to we-government: Defining a typology for citizen coproduction in the age of social media. Government Information Quarterly, 29(4), 446-454. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2012.06.003
  • Margolis, M., Resnick, D., & Resnick, D. M. (2000). Politics as usual (Vol. 6). Sage.
  • McDermott, P. (2010). Building open government. Government Information Quarterly, 27(4), 401-413. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2010.07.002
  • McLeod, J. M., Daily, K., Guo, Z., Eveland, W., Bayer, J., Yang, S., & Wang, H. (1996). Community integration, local media use and democratic processes. Communication Research, 23(2), 179-209. https://doi.org/10.1177/009365096023002002
  • McLeod, J. M., Scheufele, D. A., & Moy, P. (1999). Community, communication, and participation: The role of mass media and interpersonal discussion in local political participation. Political Communication, 16(3), 315-336. https://doi.org/10.1080/105846099198659
  • McMillan, S. J., Hwang, J. S., & Lee, G. (2003). Effects of structural and perceptual factors on attitudes toward the Website. Journal of Advertising Research, 43(4), 400-409. https://doi.org/10.2501/JAR-43-4-400-409
  • Miller, W. E. (1992). The puzzle transformed: Explaining declining turnout. Political Behavior, 14(1), 1- 43. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00993507
  • Mossberger, K., Tolbert, C. J., & McNeal, R. S. (2008). Digital citizenship: the internet. Society and Participation. https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/7428.001.0001
  • Moy, P., Manosevitch, E., Stamm, K., & Dunsmore, K. (2005). Linking dimensions of Internet use and civic engagement. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 82(3), 571-586. https://doi.org/10.1177/107769900508200306
  • Musso, J. Weare, C., & Hale, M. (2001). Designing web technologies for local governance reform: Good management or good democracy? Political Communication, 17, 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/105846000198486
  • Mutz, D. (2002). Cross-cutting social networks: Testing democratic theory in practice. American Political Science Review, 96(1), 111-126. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055402004264
  • Mutz, D., & Martin, P. (2001). Facilitating communication across lines of political difference: The role of mass media. American Political Science Review, 95(1), 97-114. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055401000223
  • Mwangi, S. C., Smethers, J. S., & Bressers, B. (2014). If you build it, will they come? An exploratory study of community reactions to an open source media project in Greensburg, Kansas. Community Journalism, 3(1), 72-86.
  • Nam, T. (2012). Suggesting frameworks of citizen-sourcing via Government 2.0. Government Information Quarterly, 29(1), 12-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2011.07.005
  • Nielsen, J. (2005). Usability of Websites for teenagers. Alertbox: Current issues in usability research. http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20050131.html
  • Nip, J. Y. M. (2006). Exploring the second phase of public journalism. Journalism Studies, 7(2), 212-236. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616700500533528
  • Norris, P. (2000). A virtuous circle: Political communications in postindustrial societies. Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511609343
  • Oblak, T. (2005). The lack of interactivity and hypertextuality in online media. Gazette: International Journal for Communication Studies, 67, 87-106. https://doi.org/10.1177/0016549205049180
  • Okura, S., & Kaigo, M. (2017). Japanese local government Facebook profiles. In Social media and civil society in Japan (pp. 73-96). Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-5095-4_3
  • Paek, H. J., Yoon, S. H., & Shah, D. V. (2005). Local news, social integration, and community participation: Hierarchical linear modeling of contextual and cross-level effects. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 82, 587-606. https://doi.org/10.1177/107769900508200307
  • Papacharissi, Z. (2004). Democracy online: Civility, politeness and the democratic potential of online political discussion groups. New Media & Society, 6(2), 259-283. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444804041444
  • Paquette, S., Jaeger, P. T., & Wilson, S. C. (2010). Identifying the security risks associated with governmental use of cloud computing. Government Information Quarterly, 27(3), 245-253. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2010.01.002
  • Pinkleton, B., & Austin, E. W. (1998). Media and participation: Breaking the spiral of disaffection. In S. P. Hays (Ed.), Engaging the public: How the government and media can reinvigorate American democracy (pp. 75-86). Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Polat, R. K. (2005). The Internet and political participation. European Journal of Communication, 20(4), 435-459. https://doi.org/10.1177/0267323105058251
  • Pratte, R. (1988). The civic imperative. Teachers College Press.
  • Putnam, R. D. (1993). Making democracy work: Civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton University Press. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781400820740
  • Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. Touchstone. https://doi.org/10.1145/358916.361990
  • Rose, W. R., & Grant, G. G. (2010). Critical issues pertaining to the planning and implementation of E-Government initiatives. Government Information Quarterly, 27(1), 26-33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2009.06.002
  • Rosenberry, J. (2005). Few papers use online techniques to improve public communication. Newspaper Research Journal, 26(4), 61-73. https://doi.org/10.1177/073953290502600406
  • Schultz, T. (1999). Interactive options in online journalism: A content analysis of 100 US newspapers. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1083-6101.1999.tb00331.x
  • Scott, J. K. (2006). “E” the People: Do U.S Municipal Government Websites Support Public Involvement?. Public Administration Review, 66(3), 341-353. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6210.2006.00593.x
  • Scott, W. (1955). Reliability of content analysis: The case of nominal scale coding. Public Opinion Quarterly, 17, 321-325. https://doi.org/10.1086/266577
  • Shah, D. V., McLeod, J. M., & Yoon, S.-H. H. (2001). Communication, context, and community: An exploration of print, broadcast and Internet influences. Communication Research, 28(4), 464-506. https://doi.org/10.1177/009365001028004005
  • Shah, S., Cho, J., Eveland, W. P., & Kwak, N. (2005). Information and expression in a digital age: Modeling Internet effects on civic participation. Communication Research, 32(5), 531-565. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650205279209
  • Shareef, M. A., Kumar, V., Kumar, U., & Dwivedi, Y. K. (2011). e-Government Adoption Model (GAM): Differing service maturity levels. Government Information Quarterly, 28(1), 17-35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2010.05.006
  • Swanson, D. L. (2000). The homologous evolution of political communication and civic engagement: Good news, bad news, and no news. Political Communication, 17, 409-414. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584600050179031
  • Tambini, D. (1999). New media and democracy: The civic networking movement. New Media & Society, 1(3), 305-329. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614449922225609
  • Van der Heijden, H. (2003). Factors influencing the usage of websites: The case of a generic portal in the Netherlands. Information and Management, 40(6), 541-549. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-7206(02)00079-4
  • Verba, S., & Nie, H. (1972). Participation in America: Political democracy and social equality. University of Chicago Press.
  • Verba, S., Schlozman, K. L., & Brady, H. F. (1995). Voice and equality: Civic voluntarism in American politics. Harvard University Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv1pnc1k7
  • Wang, Y. S. (2002). The adoption of electronic tax filing systems: An empirical study. Government Information Quarterly, 20, 333-352. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2003.08.005
  • Weare, C. (2000, August 1-5). Technology and politics: Linking the Internet to changes in democratic governance [Paper presentation]. The Internet Conference at the International Political Science World Congress, Quebec City.
  • Wellman, B., Haase, A. Q., Witte, J., & Hampton, K. (2001). Does the Internet increase, decrease, or supplement social capital? Social networks, participation, and community commitment. American Behavioral Scientist, 45(3), 436-455. https://doi.org/10.1177/00027640121957286
  • Wild, A., & Marshall, R. (1999). Participatory practice in the context of Local Agenda 21: A case study evaluation of experience in three English local authorities. Sustainable Development, 7(3), 151-162. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1719(199908)7:3<151::AID-SD111>3.0.CO;2-0
  • Wimmer, R. D., & Dominick, J. R. (1997). Mass media research: An introduction. Cengage Learning.