Political Innovation, Digitalisation and Public Participation in Party Politics

Schmidthuber et al






Lisa Schmidthuber, Dennis Hilgers and Maximilian Rapp

Public sector institutions increasingly make use of modern information and communication technology to exchange knowledge with stakeholders and involve external actors in decision-making. Public participation has the potential to increase the knowledge base relevant for innovation and continuous improvement in policy-making. It can also enhance the relationship among actors, increase public trust and improve citizen satisfaction. Our recent article in Policy & Politics focuses on public participation in party politics. Specifically, our research focused on a political party which involved citizens in the development of its programme using an online platform. 

By conducting a survey among participants of the initiative, firstly, we found that self-efficacy was positively related to the content shared via the platform, meaning that individual’s belief in his or her capability to contribute to the discussion was is a predictor for knowledge sharing behaviour. Secondly, we focused on the perceived outcomes of public participation in party politics. In particular, respondents perceived the participatory process as an effective tool to improve political relations, develop a political community, and maximise the quality of the party’s programme. Our results also showed that collective efficacy had a positive effect on the perceived outcomes of public participation in party politics. Accordingly, an individual’s belief that the online community is capable of developing a party programme of good quality was positively related to the evaluation of the initiative’s outcomes. In summaryour study’s results showed that involving citizens in political decision-making can be a valuable tool for political innovation and for political parties to improve their relationship with the electorate. 

You can read the original research in Policy & Politics:

Schmidthuber, Lisa; Hilgers, Dennis; Rapp, Maximilian. (2019) ‘Political innovation, digitalisation and public participation in party politics‘,  Policy & Politics,  https://doi.org/10.1332/030557319X15579230420054

If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also be interested to read:

Beyond radicalism and resignation: the competing logics for public participation in policy decisions

Citizen participation and changing governance: cases of devolution in England

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