Engaging youths via E-participation initiatives: An investigation into the context of online policy discussion forums

Chee Wei Phang, Atreyi Kankanhalli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) have offered governments new opportunities to enhance citizen participation in democratic processes. The participation opportunities afforded by ICT may be particularly pertinent for youths, who are more likely to be ICT-savvy and yet are reported to show declining participation in politics. The currently increasing exclusion of youths from democratic processes has been attributed to their apathy toward politics and a lack of participation channels for them. ICT as a familiar tool for this specific age group may present an opportunity to elicit youths' participation in democratic processes. In this study we examine an e-participation initiative targeted at youths and seek to investigate the factors contributing to their participation in an online discussion forum employed for policy deliberation. We build upon theoretical bases from the political science and information systems literature to construct a research model of participation in online policy discussion forums. As an initial study of youths' e-participation, our survey indicates that collective and selective incentives may positively impact youths' participation intention. In addition, civic skills and political efficacy of individuals may also contribute to their participation. Connectivity with an online policy discussion forum can enhance youths' perceptions of selective process incentives while communality negatively impacts their intention to participate. Overall, our study aims to inform theory by showing that existing participation theories may be applicable to youth's participation in the electronic context. Further, ICT features (connectivity and communality) are found to have both positive and negative effects on participation. The findings may provide insights to practitioners for promoting inclusion of youths in democratic processes via e-participation initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Inclusion
Subtitle of host publicationSocietal and Organizational Implications for Information Systems: IFIP TC8 WG8.2 International Working Conference
EditorsEileen Trauth, Debra Howcroft, Tom Butler, Tom Butler, Janice DeGross
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameIFIP International Federation for Information Processing
ISSN (Print)1571-5736

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems and Management


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