Citizen-Government Collaborative Environment Using Social Networks: The Case of Egypt

Citizen-Government Collaborative Environment Using Social Networks: The Case of Egypt

Hany Abdelghaffar (German University in Cairo, Egypt) and Lobna Hassan (German University in Cairo, Egypt)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6367-9.ch008
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Electronic democracy is a concept which is used in some countries around the world with mixed success. Social networks helped in facilitating democracy and democratic change in several countries suggesting that they could be utilized as an e-democracy tool. This research proposed a new model of how the decision-making process for local governments could be improved via social networks. Quantitative approach was used to investigate how the use of a social network amongst people living in the same suburb could improve decision making on the local level. Findings showed that awareness building, deliberation, and consultation factors could be used to affect the decision making for their local governments.
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Theoretical Background

There are several benefits which could be achieved from e-democracy. E-democracy helps to increase citizens’ participation in the political life (Riley & Law, 2003; Thomas an&d Streib, 2005). Citizens are empowered to say their input to the decisions made by their governments which lead to having two ways of communications rather one way only (Stahl, 2005). Small governorates or states are more responsive to e-democracy than larger ones (Riley, 2003; 84) while young citizens are more responsive to e-democracy compared to elder citizens (Hull et al, 2001).

Williamson (2007) develops a new model that explains the lifecycle of e-democracy. The model combines two models to understand how e-democracy develops on the local level. The first is the trans-theoretical stages of change that explores how change and awareness occurs in a society and consists of five awareness stages that depend on the level of an individual motivation:

  • Pre-Contemplation: A person doesn’t recognize the need for any change

  • Contemplation: The person considers the change but is still resisting it

  • Preparation: The person accepts the need for change and considers how it is to be carried out

  • Action: Implementing the change and adopting to it

  • Maintenance: Maintain the change and ways thing are done after it

The second model is the social movement lifecycle model that talks about the actors in a social movements, and divides them into four categories. Each of these individuals has to exist in a society for a social movement to start and continue (Williamson, 2007):

  • Citizens: The general public in a society

  • Reformers: Are those who have the power to implement the change

  • Change Agents: Individuals who would spread awareness of the issues rebels are challenging in a society and support the change they call for

  • Rebels: Individuals ready to challenge established conditions

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