Organizing Citizen Participation: An Explorative Systematic Review of the Universality of Recommendations
Citizen participation in political and administrative decision-making is a global phenomenon. This breadth of cases allows both participation enthusiasts and critics to use empirical studies to further their arguments. This article explores whether and how conclusions and recommendations given in empirical case studies on the organization of citizen participation change according to context. It explores what themes participation organizers should pay attention to according to different contexts. It does so by performing a systematic literature review of empirical studies of citizens' participation and subsequently comparing the frequency with which certain themes can be found in different contexts. It finds that studies conducted in different contexts do not offer contradictory conclusions and recommendations, but also do not offer universal ones. What themes are emphasized changes mostly according to how developed the participatory culture is. Variables such as participation form, policy subject, and scale matter primarily when comparing between similar developmental contexts. It also shows that over half of all conclusions and recommendations given deal with process design, with the other half made up of conclusions and recommendations relating to context, education, expectations, civil servant behavior, and citizen behavior. The article concludes that conclusions and recommendations on how to organize and improve participation processes are dependent on context, much in the same way that a successful process cannot simply be copied and applied elsewhere.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen