e-participation


A more detailed definition sees e-participation as "the use of information and communication technologies to broaden and deepen political participation by enabling citizens to connect with one another and with their elected representatives". This definition includes all stakeholders in democratic decision-making processes and not only citizen related top-down government initiatives. So e-participation can be seen as part of e-democracy, the use of ICT by governments in general used by elected officials, media, political parties and interest groups, civil society organizations, international governmental organizations, or citizens/voters within any of the political processes of states/regions, nations, and local and global communities.
The term 'participation' means taking part in joint activities for the purpose of reaching a common goal. This encompasses both trivial situations in which participation mainly has a technical meaning, Édoing things togetherÉ. For example, a football team needs 11 players, and dancing often requires two or more people acting in a coordinated manner. But participation, even in trivial situations, also has a goal-oriented aspect which means decision making and control are involved. Participation in political science and theory of management refers to direct public participation in political, economical or management decisions. The two are not completely separated but belong on a spectrum of complexity and context. When participation becomes complicated, decision making becomes necessary. Hence, any participatory process is potentially important for the rule system governing the activities. In terms of points 2 and 3 above, this means that when service processes become complex, the implementation of them will not be in all details based on political decisions but also on what is found to be practical.
To demonstrate e-participation at work, one can turn to one of its types - crowdsourcing. This is generally defined as the enlisting of a group of humans to solve problems via the World Wide Web. The idea is that this platform is able to collect human resources from the most unlikely and remotest places, contributing to the general store of intellectual capital. Crowdsourcing can be applied in different stages of the policy-making process and these could transpire on the information, consultation, and active participation levels. At the information level, there is a one-way relationship, wherein the participants receive information from the government. The consultation process entails a two-way interaction where citizens already provide their inputs, feedback, and reactions. Finally, active participation can refer to the deeper participatory involvement where citizens directly contribute in the formulation of policy content. This level of e-participation is increasingly being practiced through tools such as online petition, e-referendum, e-panels, citizen e-juries, and participatory GIS, among others.