Local Government Employees’ Technology Acceptance of E-Participation: An Empirical Analysis Using Structural Equation Modeling

Published date01 November 2023
AuthorPhillip Nguyen,Stefan Süß
Date01 November 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Administration & Society
2023, Vol. 55(10) 1839 –1865
© The Author(s) 2023
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00953997231198847
Local Government
Employees’ Technology
Acceptance of
E-Participation: An
Empirical Analysis Using
Structural Equation
Phillip Nguyen1 and Stefan Süß1
The quality and quantity of e-participation procedures depend heavily on
the acceptance of the local government employees involved. Based on
Venkatesh’s unified theory of acceptance and use of technology, this study
investigates the factors influencing these employees’ usage intentions. The
results of an online survey of German local government employees show
that facilitating conditions, performance expectancy, and social influence
significantly impact acceptance. The effect of factors like administrative
culture could not be confirmed. Theoretical and practical implications of
these findings are discussed.
e-participation, technology acceptance, local government, local government
1Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany
Corresponding Author:
Stefan Süß, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Universitätsstr. 1, Düsseldorf, 40225,
Email: stefan.suess@hhu.de
1198847AAS0010.1177/00953997231198847Administration & SocietyNguyen and Süß
1840 Administration & Society 55(10)
For some time, local governments have faced numerous reforms and changes
requiring modernization of their actions, culture, and structure (Osborne
et al., 2016). In addition to adopting private-sector management techniques,
it is necessary to digitize local government. The extensive use of information
and communication technologies in many processes and procedures seeks to
increase the efficiency of these administrations (El-Haddadeh et al., 2013).
Another goal is to enhance citizen participation to improve the democratic
process (Twizeyimana & Andersson, 2019). In response to the growing
demand for innovative methods to integrate citizens’ opinions into decision-
making, e-participation has been widely discussed in the research discourse
of e-government and open government (Simonofski et al., 2017). With infor-
mal internet-based participation using social media or online forums and
platforms (Y Choi & Kwon, 2019) – for example, participatory budgeting or
consulting platforms, public decision-making should be more diverse and,
more representative (Macintosh, 2008). E-participation aims to open up new
technology-oriented target groups and enhance participation by increasing
local governments’ reach (Albrecht et al., 2008). However, challenges such
as lack of participation, insufficient outcomes, uncertain costs, or necessary
change and learning processes threaten the success and long-term establish-
ment (Ben & Schuppan, 2015; Grunwald et al., 2005).
Moreover, several risks are associated with implementing e-participation,
which continue to hamper its successful diffusion. In light of the digital
divide, particularly the lack of participation of elders and technology-averse
citizens can reinforce existing inequalities and representation difficulties and
ensure exclusion (Reddick, 2011; Schlozman et al., 2010). Thus, one goal of
citizen participation, inclusion of members of a diverse society, is potentially
counteracted. Combined with established logics and work processes that
must be overcome when involving external actors such as citizens (Steinbach
& Süß, 2018), it is not surprising that local government digitization efforts
focus primarily on traditional one-way e-government offerings, while citizen
participation has only limited relevance (D’Agostino et al., 2011).
As an essential part of reform efforts to secure more open government,
e-participation remains an important topic for research and practice (Friess
et al., 2021). However, one perspective that has played only a subordinate
role is the perspective of the employees of the implementing public organiza-
tions. Some studies have analyzed the influence of individual employees on
the success of e-participation. For example, Zheng and Schachter (2018)
found that employees' willingness to use information and communication
technologies has an impact on the number of e-participation offerings. By

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