The need of a Theory of Participation for 21st Century Governance

A new paper by Prof. Vickie Edwards in the International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior (IJOTB) concludes: “Research in the years to come should focus on how organizational forms are best adapted to integrate these participatory methods. Specifically, by examining organizational structures and how they integrate with the public in both successful and unsuccessful cases, scholars can gain a better understanding of appropriate organizational forms for stronger democracies at the local level. Such studies should also consider behavioral aspects and the views of both administrators and citizens who become involved in such efforts, as a lack of buy-in at any stage in the participatory process can cause the process to fail – something evidenced by the Great Society efforts in engagement. Personality factors may also play a role in the success or failure of engagement efforts, as such efforts may hinge on the public popularity of individual administrators who interface with citizens. Documenting efforts at participation and engagement through the use of case studies, survey methods, and social network analysis can aid practitioners in identifying best practices, as well as scholars as we seek to better understand each new piece of the participation puzzle”.