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Public Agencies or Nonprofit Organizations: Which sector is maximizing its
E-participation tools to promote citizen engagement?

There is a long literature regarding the importance of civic participation, perhaps starting as early as the early 19th century with Alexis de Tocqueville. Implicit the “new public service” is the importance of providing information for the public, but also taking information in from the public. Technology allows for more inclusiveness in governing through e-participation. Government’s move to increasingly rely on nonprofit organizations for the provision of services had brought organizations in the public and nonprofit sectors into a position where they are both active in promoting a public benefit. Recent moves in governing argue to bring more stakeholders to the virtual decision-making table. ICTs provide the vehicle for more people to be at that virtual table. The extent to which public and nonprofit organizations utilize these mediums has grown in recent years. What is missing is a comparative study of utilization between the two sectors of similar organizations. This paper will compare similar organizations’ use of ICTs in the two sectors. An analysis of Web sites and social media platforms will be conducted using indexes that allow for a cross-sector comparison. The purpose is two fold: to broaden the empirical analysis of ICT adoption, and second, to better understand which sector is more open to public input via these new mediums. Administrators in both sectors can use the results of this to see not only the ICT tools their ‘competitors’, to use New Public Management terminology, are using but also see where they are lagging in promoting e-participation.

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  1. 1. Public Agencies or Nonprofit Organizations:Which sector is maximizing itse-participation tools to promote citizen engagement? Georgette E. Dumont Assistant Professor University of North Florida
  2. 2. Theoretical GroundingNew Public ManagementNew Public ServiceDialogic Theory
  3. 3. Research QuestionGiven that the third sector has become a defacto third-party government, do they allowfor similar citizen engagement/interaction vianew technologies as public agencies?Exploratory study
  4. 4. MethodologyMeasurement tools: e-Governance index (Holzer, et al. 2008) Nonprofit Virtual Accountability Index (Dumont, forthcoming) Social Media metricsData Collection: 11 public organizations 19 nonprofit organizationsData Analysis: t-tests
  5. 5. Findings
  6. 6. Web sitePublic Nonprofit
  7. 7. Social Media Adoption
  8. 8. Facebook
  9. 9. Twitter
  10. 10. YouTube
  11. 11. ImplicationsCurrently, nonprofits are utilizing social media to agreater extent than public organizationsPublic agencies not practicing New Public Serviceprincipals, at least not via technologyNonprofits have to potential to become more of aconduit for people to interactNonprofits seek to advocate for their stakeholders aswell as sector as wholeNonprofits’ engagement of stakeholders, at leastonline, provides them with increased legitimacy in thepolicy process
  12. 12. Next Phase...Deeper analysis into online technologyutilization (both Web sites and social media)Explore the relationship between engagementof stakeholder online and use of feedbackfor: policy proposals organizational strategy program development
  13. 13. Thank you