2. ICEGOV 2020, 23-25 September 2020, Athens, Greece Demirdoven, Burcu et al.
(PCIT), motivational model (MM), uses and gratification
theory (U&G), theory of model of PC utilization (MPCU),
unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT),
compatibility UTAUT (C-UTAUT).
The ongoing research on modeling e-participation implies the
complexity of the conceptual layers and the difficulty of practicing
conceptualization. The comparison of models    
proves the existence of a need for a comprehensive model
consolidating trust in e-participation. This study aims to serve this
purpose by offering a proposed model with the combination of the
existing trust models obtained through employing a meta-analysis
on the relationship between trust and e-participation. The review
seeks to answers to particular research questions on:
i. the ways in which trust is addressed in e-
government studies with a particular reference to e-
ii. the importance of public trust for the adoption and
diffusion of e-government and e-participation, and
iii. the extent that the current trust-based models can
resolve the e-participation issues.
2. CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND-I: PUBLIC
PARTICIPATION & e-PARTICIPATION
Classical approaches in public administration (PA) theory
evaluated the relationship between citizens and government as a
top-down and hierarchical manner. However, some notions like
governance , new public service [29, 30] or public value
management [31, 30] might have resulted in some structural
effects over government systems. For this very point,  argued
that the idea of the classical form of management was no more in
compliance with the necessities of novel types of organizational
settings that require a network of independent actors. From the
classical PA approach, what is dominant is a top-down
relationship between government and citizens, and places citizens
in a passive object position rather than promoting them as active
subjects . Recently, we see a change in governments’
perception towards citizens . This change in a government
position is driven by factors ranging from lack of legitimacy ,
trust issues [1, 25] to developments in ICTs , and citizen
The early use of technology in the administration was not
regarded as important as that it is adopted today . However,
the evolution of technology use in government business including
ICTs-supplied PAs with a great extent of managerial tools is on
the agenda of many governments. For scholars, ICTs serve as main
pillars for public service provision . Yet ICTs under broad e-
participation umbrella serve not only for inter-organizational
easiness towards public service provision but also transformations
yielding governance type of interactions among institutions, and
between institutions and citizens.
 sees ICTs as a factor shaping governance in current times.
 argues that governments interact with citizens and other
parties as politicians, civil servants and business with all the
possible tools in a horizontal type of relationship. [42:183] takes
attraction to the affective power of ICTs in PA since “the
technologies around this core business are fundamentally
changing, as is the case with ICTs, the core business itself is also
deeply affected”. In contrast,  argues that the level of
interactions between citizens and governments has not changed
dramatically after the inclusion of the internet except for some
positive outcomes due to mobile phone use. However, [44:727]
argue “what is needed then, in this emergent e-governance age, is
a realistic framework in which citizens are encouraged to engage
with politicians and civil servants”.
We evaluate that ICTs present some important features to
facilitate the transformation of PA in the direction of e-
participation. Particularly the non-hierarchical characteristic of
ICTs and their inherent potentiality foster a multi-way interaction
between citizens and administration. Public authorities are in a
position to provide the citizens with customer-oriented services
in a proactive manner. [46:225] asserted that “there is recognition
that citizens should no longer be perceived as mere recipients of
services, but as active players in the whole process”. Yet, 
argued that success was not a default result of technology use by
its nature, but the way that tools and potentialities of technology
employed is important. Similarly, [48:238] asserted a common
opinion among scholars that “technology does not have an impact
per se” by emphasizing the value of decisions taken on how to
adopt technology in regarding frameworks. In a similar path, 
supports the view that computers could not attain organizational
goals per se unless there is a supportive environment. Further,
[50:22] point to a research gap addressing “how technology
development and institutional dynamics must interact in order to
make ICT a useful tool for improving government”. As 
asserted, the internet critically fostered the interaction capability
of citizens with government. In this context, it is reasonably
meaningful to study the effects of ICTs over policy processes.
In literature, there are studies, insufficient but growing,
particularly focusing on e-participation and its effects [60, 61]. On
the other hand, studies in broad e-government literature either
discuss the effects of e-government technologies on the
government and citizen relationships (i.e. supply-side of e-
government), or focus on the demand side of e-government, such
as the acceptance and usage level of e-government tools in
citizens’ side. Thus, another functionality of e-participation easily
augmented via ICTs is the improvement of public service
provision. e-Participation mechanisms might help to develop the
public service provision by gathering various inputs from citizens
as shareholders or to alleviate the problems unintentionally
caused by the malfunctioning of the public provision system in
general. It should be noted that service provision in general and
public service provision, in particular, is different from that of any
other commodity provision. Any implication regarding public
service as a stable commodity that is provisioned without
gathering users’ expectations and opinions  moves away from
the notion of service provision. For such a misinterpretation, e-
participation mechanisms might help to provide public services
aligned with the necessities and needs of users. It is a critical
question in regard to the limits to be posed for public participation
in general and e-participation in specific terms: to what extent the
3. Establishing relational trust in e-Participation: a systematic
literature review to propose a model
ICEGOV 2020, 23-25 September 2020, Athens, Greece
public participatea, or in which services public are supposed to
participate . The limits to be posed for participation, or
formulating the frameworks where participation would be
realized are matters of conditionality. Any universal answer to
these inquiries would definitely be conditional to time, place and
political cultures. The extent and scope of participation could be
framed by the functionality of e-petitioning systems. Therefore, e-
petitioning mechanisms under the broad umbrella of e-
participation feed the public service provision process back with
the requests, complaints, and proposals raised by citizens as inputs
into the system. Though it seems that e-participation and e-
petition seem interrelated, this interrelatedness does not stem
from a cause and effect relationship. However, any presence of
these two notions would support the development of the other.
There are some papers evaluating this interrelatedness a little bit
further taking for granted that e-petitioning is a means of e-
participation . Petitions are seen as the functional tool to
convey the views of the public to those holding the power, thus
providing the public with participation means of input provision
into policy-making .
In this context, [64:627] expediently asserted that “improved
decision-making is perhaps the most promising element”. [65:374-
375] interrelated the transparency notion with “an informed
citizenry that is able to engage in political discourse and shape the
future directions of the government” in a particular country
context.  found that citizen perception of satisfaction with the
e-participation process is directly related to the perception of
transparency, and thus trust. Likewise,  pointed to “a more
informed citizenry” in the context of complicated situations of
Previous studies put light on the reasons 0public demands for
transparency and participation. These demands put forward ICTs
use with some preliminary results. For example,  argued that
e-government is not conditional on information infrastructure but
also on governance. Besides, [68:376] asserted that (American) PA
has to develop an effective way to engage with citizens for
“modern network and collaborative governance structures”.
Similarly,  regards public participation as essential for the
functioning of the democracy, but participation without necessary
information as meaningless. Besides, there is also literature
pointing to dissent on public participation in government affairs
[70, 71]. For instance,  argued that the Internet made the
sample policies more exclusive in addition to finding that the
internet empowers the influence and authority.
We briefly presented a literature analysis on participation. It
is clear that there is a growing literature on participation matters
[53, 54, 55]. Regarding public participation and public input into
policymaking, we see that there are relatively more studies on
citizen input into decision making for environmental, or spatial
planning issues [56, 72].
Yet the experiences, for now, have shown mixed and often
limited overall results in terms of participation in public policy
processes. For example, a case concerning the dynamic
participative budget in the City Hall of Belo Horizonte, Brazil
observed a decrease in public participation, whereas the objective
was to increase participation . The reason for this decrease is
actually underlined with supposed interest-value conflict mainly
embedded within political cultures. ICTs does not guarantee to
make the necessary transformation per se, but it may ease or
facilitate what is already present. Furthermore, [58:118] found
that e-participation is “a work-in-progress, with some skepticism”
assisted by ICTs for better public participation. [59:203] argues
that governmental encouragement to use ICTs to increase public
participation in related to governance mechanisms fails to satisfy
expectations in many cases.
3. CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND-II: TRUST
The concept of trust has been handled in different disciplines,
mostly in interpersonal and organizational senses. The wide
comprehension of the concept has rarely sorted the constitution
of a common ground for the conceptualization out . Trust can
be seen as either a socially cognitive element followed by a
personal assessment of others  or a value per se qualifying
individuals’ perceptions and behaviors towards others . This
study considers trust within the framework of e-participation that
enables citizens to utter their demands easier and influences
public policies in an effective manner . Trust in e-
participation, therefore, ensures a bi-directional relationship
between the government and citizens. It is, thus, functional to
foster the context of citizens’ acceptance of ICTs-enabled public
services. A prospective model should focus on a reliable mutual
communication system improving “relational trust” between the
government and citizens. The progressive participation in e-
government systems has transformed the government and
citizens to become relational partners from the ruler and the ruled.
Bıth sides need its partner’s reliability, cooperation, and integrity
with the mediating effect of relevant data as Government 2.0
Citizens’ changing attitudes towards the role of government
with technological advancements have, on the other hand,
induced paradigm-shifting innovation in the traditional model of
PA. In the ideal type of new e-government model, citizens play an
active role in governance with the use of ICTs to electronically
participate in the process. ICTs are the means of the transmission
of information and knowledge that the parties involved in the
process believe that this knowledge is used in the right way, with
the right aims. However, this new model also complicates to
predict the outcomes of the process.
Some may be curious about the opinions of other participants,
while others may want to influence public policies. E-
participation practices should be designed to meet the needs and
expectations of citizens. So, e-participation is not only about the
citizen engagement in already existing services, but it requires a
coproduction of services with the citizens as relational partners to
promote relational trust in e-participation. Unless responsive
programs to directly communicate with government employees
and high-quality interactions were reinforced, the citizens would
lack the belief in safe and fair management of citizen inputs. E-
participation should guarantee that participants can better
monitor PA  in spite of one-dimensional control of the
4. ICEGOV 2020, 23-25 September 2020, Athens, Greece Demirdoven, Burcu et al.
government on citizens. In short, e-participation should propound
a matter, a reasonable aim, to citizens.
Trust in e-participation consequently legitimates the definition
of  combining the four essential elements: beliefs,
trustworthiness, matters at hand, and unknown outcomes, shortly
called as “relational trust”. With respect to these elements,
relational trust refers to “a belief about another person’s
trustworthiness with respect to a particular matter at hand that
emerges under conditions of unknown outcomes” . Relational
trust in e-participation is, thus, that the relational partners (the
government and citizens) believe both parties are trustworthy in
e-government issues despite the potential of unpredictable results.
The prior researches have represented the need for relational
trust in e-participation. The failure in the implementation of e-
participation projects has led some researchers to argue that ICTs
do not always have to promote citizen participation. 
addressed the results of three failed projects in Serbia, which are
more inclined towards democratic innovations. Although each
project directly aims to contribute to the progress of e-
participation, the number of participating citizens has not been at
the desired level. The top-down direction of projects, rather than
maintaining a bidirectional relationship, has resulted in citizen
confusion about how the state would use this collected personal
data. Unlike the traditional PA, electronically serving PA should
build bi-relational governance with other shareholders than the
government to build trust in social and political contexts .
In the US, an interactive game called Community PlanIt (CPI)
has been developed to promote and increase local participation.
CPI has reinterpreted trust mechanisms as citizen trust towards
each other and towards the government and local authorities. The
game has provided citizens an opportunity to interact, discuss and
reach a common decision so that citizens are also relational
partners of each other expected to avoid trust problems. Acting in
unity would produce trust in the government since the sense of
civil society has moved to online social networks transforming to
“lateral trust”. Lateral trust acknowledges the trustworthiness of
others for specific purposes such as providing productive inputs
or taking measures for future situations (developing some form of
public policy) .
 identifies citizen’s trust in the government with the
transparency of government that the new PA form requires
collaborative governance. Citizens are not only seen as customers
but also as collaborative partners to ensure more democratic and
effective governance. The government should create
opportunities to increase citizen participation to revive active
participation in decision-making and policy-making mechanisms
while diminishing the problems of representation. Because
technological developments have the ability to establish a bond
between citizens and the government, frames trust in the context
of five dimensions: “satisfaction with e-participation applications,
satisfaction with government responsiveness to e-participants, e-
participants development through the participation, perceived
influence on decision making and assessment of government
 conducted a trust survey on social media including 20
cities from Canada and the USA conducted a trust survey on social
media. The findings revealed tight control over content, account
creation, and employee and audience participation in order to
eliminate technology and content-based risks in cities seeking to
comply with federal and state legislation. The study states the
nature of trust is mutual between the government and citizens
preceded by transparency and accountability .
4. REVIEW METHODOLOGY
The study has two-stage research design: a systematic literature
review on the relationship between trust and e-participation and
a setting-a-conceptual-model retrieved from the findings of the
review. To conduct a systematic analysis of the empowerment of
e-participation through consolidating trust in e-government
activities, we searched for just peer-reviewed articles and
conference papers, particularly indexed by Digital Government
Reference Library (DGRL). To this end, we decided to search for
articles in all-years period in order to capture in what ways is the
concept of trust discussed within the context of e-government
issues, particularly in e-participation. We selected the concepts of
“trust” and “e-participation” for the title-search of the related texts
and then employed a search within terms list of the DGRL 15.0
database including relevant terms such as digital government, e-
governance, e-government, e-inclusion, and e-engagement to
generate binary combinations with “trust”. The title search stage
provided a total of 22 articles, from which we have picked 11
articles with the criterion of revealing trust in technology
adoption and e-participation models.
We eliminated articles that were not directly related to our
research questions of
“RQ1. In what ways is trust addressed in e-government studies
with a particular reference to e-participation?”,
“RQ2. How important is the public trust for the adoption and
diffusion of e-government and e-participation?”, and
“RQ3. To what extent can the current trust-based models resolve
the e-participation issues?”
Also used in article selection, there are some other shared or
diverging points and dimensions as a) theoretical/conceptual
background, b) methodology and research design, c) year of
publishing, and d) article type
5. REVIEW SUMMARY
Table 1: 11 articles selected from the article pool defined
with regard to research questions.
Paper by Paper Info Scope/context & Practical Conclusions
Azab, N. &
framework on six
The relation btw social capital and trust in
government, btw social capital and social media,
and the measurement of trust
Gathering citizens’ opinions assisting a clear
view of the right balance of the trust
components perceived by the citizens.
Ref: Azab, N. & ElSherif, M.2018. A Framework
for Using Data Analytics To Measure Trust in
Government through the Social Capital
Generated over Governmental Social Media
Platforms. dg.o '18: Proceedings of the 19th
Annual International Conference on Digital
5. Establishing relational trust in e-Participation: a systematic
literature review to propose a model
ICEGOV 2020, 23-25 September 2020, Athens, Greece
Government Research: Governance in the Data
N. Z. &
A model identifying individual characteristics,
government factors, risk factors and social
media characteristics as multiple antecedents of
citizen’s trust in government social media
An integrated model about citizens’ trust factors
in e-government adoption, social networking
sites and related studies about government
social media services
Ref: Khan, S., Ab Rahim, N. Z. & Maarop,
N.2019. A Review on Antecedents of Citizen’s
Trust in Government Social Media Services. 3C
Tecnología, Special Issue on “Recent Trends in
Computer Science and Electronics”, 28:2,109-
A generic eParticipation framework enriched
with trust management techniques
The public sector will have a tool allowing the
expert users to build and perform any process of
eParticipation, covering demographics aspects,
integrating leaders and citizens, making
decisions in a collaborative environment.
Ref: Santamaria, A.2016. Trust-Enhanced
Approach to the e-Participation Life Cycle.
Electronic Government and Electronic
Participation. The authors and IOS Press.352-
Song, C. &
by the Pew
A theoretical model of social media in
government and trust in government
emphasizing the role of citizens’ perceptions of
government transparency in making
connections btw social media in government
and trust in government
Use of government social media associated with
perceptions of govt. transparency, perceptions
of govt. transparency are related to trust in govt.
and perceptions of govt. transparency mediate
the relationship btw the use of govt. social
media and trust in government.
Ref: Song, C. & Lee, J.2016. Citizens’ Use of
Social Media in Government, Perceived
Transparency, and Trust in Government. Public
Management Review, 39:2, 430-453.
Trust and e-
Trust in e-participation contexts through
combining two models: a) Integrative Model of
Organizational Trust and b) Interdisciplinary
Model of Trust Constructs to 1) investigate trust
along the whole lifecycle of e-participation
projects with a) and 2) to consider different
trust perspectives with b).
For the model, the participant is the trustor, so
the views of other roles as e.g. trust of
administrative agencies in the input of the
general public necessary for starting an e-
participation initiative need to be investigated.
Ref: Scherer, S. & Wimmer, M.2014.
Conceptualising Trust in E-Participation
Contexts. 6th In- ternational Conference on
Electronic Participation (ePart), Dublin,
and focus groups
Civic Learning in
If and how Community PlanIt (CPI) can move
citizen participation beyond isolated
CPI encourages reflective attitudes and
mediates relationships of trust needed for
functional and continued civic engagement. A
well-designed game encourages people to
reflect on specific policy or planning decisions
and the roles played within the overall civic
Ref: Gordon, E. & Baldwin-Philippi, J. 2014.
Playful Civic Learning: Enabling Reflection and
Lateral Trust in Game-based Public
Participation. International Journal of
Communication 8, 759–786.
A. N. &
expansion of the
A major challenge in the success of e-
Government implementation, public
participation via continual use intention and
electronic Word of Mouth (eWoM), and control
by examining the impact of e-Government
quality on public trust and towards continual
use intention and eWoM.
A sig. correlation btw systems quality & info.
quality and trust, a substantial relationship btw
dispositional trust and institutional trust &
interpersonal trust, a sig. correlation btw
institutional and interpersonal trust, a direct
relationship btw institutional trust and
continual use intention & eWoM, a sig.
correlation btw interpersonal trust and
continual use intention.
Ref: Nulhusna, R., Sandhyaduhita, P.,
Hidayanto, A. N. & Phusavat, K. 2017. The
Relation of e-government Quality on Public
Trust and Its Impact Towards Public
People, Process and Policy, Emerald Publishing
Case study, and
Predictors and consequences of trust in e-
participation, and a 'trust by-design' approach
to design and implement e-participation
Interdisciplinary cooperation from psycho.,
communication, IS & e-government
demonstrated in the draft of the trust model for
Ref: Wimmer, M.A., Scherer, S. & Appel, M.
2015. The Role of Trust in E-Participation:
Predictors, Consequences, and Design.
Electronic Government and Electronic
The authors and IOS Press. 3-10.
The role of perceived risk and trust in the
acceptance of social networks for e-
Financial, time, psychological, social and overall
risk are significant determinants. Trust in tech.
& trust in govt. are significant facets, while trust
in Facebook not significantly load on the
second-order construct. Trust in a perceived risk
model with TAM determinants increases the R2
in intention to use.
Ref: Kollmann, T., Kayser, I. & Stöckmenn, C.
2015. ‘What Matters Most? Investigating the
Role of Perceived Risk and Trust in the
Acceptance of Social Networks for Political
Communication. Electronic Government, An
International Journal, Vol. 11, 4, 306–321.
Kim, S. &
The relationship btw e-participation and trust in
local govt. w/ 5 dimensions: satisfaction w/ e-
participation applications, satisfaction w/
government responsiveness to e-participants, e-
participants’ development through
participation, perceived influence on decision
making, and assessment of govt. transparency.
Dimensions are associated w/ application
development, govt. transparency, e-
participant’s perceptions of influencing govt.
decision making, trust in local govt.
Ref: Kim, S. & Lee, J. 2012. E‐Participation,
Transparency, and Trust in Local Government.
Public Administration Review,72, 6, 819-828.
The factors that influence the procedure, the
technology, and the perceived risk and/or the
benefits of electronic participation.
The variables generating trust: trust in tech.,
contributions, conditions of participation and
quality of info. About the process flow. The
variables of the e-participation process: quality
of info. About the process flow, moderation and
6. ICEGOV 2020, 23-25 September 2020, Athens, Greece Demirdoven, Burcu et al.
Ref: Santamaria-Philco, A. & Wimmer, M.A.
2018.Trust in e-participation: an empirical
research on the influencing factors. dg.o '18:
Proceedings of the 19th Annual International
Conference on Digital Government Research:
Governance in the Data Age, 64, 1-10.
Based on the systematic analysis of the current models evaluating
the relation between trust and e-participation, a structured model
on relational trust in participation has been developed about the
trust-building environment and process in e-government
activities. The model illustrated in Figure 1 provides an integrated
scheme for the consolidation of relational trust between relational
partners in the e-participation process. The existing literature
states that the prospective trust models should combine the pillars
of trust in e-participation in a holistic image: trust factors,
respective actors and trust-building processes. The previous
models and frameworks focus on the significant factors affecting
citizens’ trust in e-government issues and the necessary process
to be followed or the communication between the government
and citizens separately. The proposed model, therefore, expects to
fill this gap in the literature by combining three separately
important pillars of trust in e-participation with the integration of
required values such as transparency, accountability, cooperation,
responsiveness. While figuring the process to ensure relational
trust in e-participation, the model also shows the Government-to-
Citizen (G2C), Citizen-to-Government (C2G) and Citizen-to-
Citizen (C2C) relation as the relational partners of the process.
Figure 1: Relational Trust Model in e-Participation
The research on the trust models for e-participation has
revealed that against the backdrop of improving trust in e-
participation, the parties of electronic services satisfy with the
constructed system . The prospective application, therefore,
requires a design approach to develop a well-fitted prototype for
the needs and expectations of the parties. The authoritative body
is not the only responsible for the improvement of the
applications. The public institutions and officials internally audit
(G2G) the weaknesses and strengths of the applications to
feedback the authority responsible for the application in return
for the quality testing and risk managing. The other relational
partner, citizens get involved in the application and cooperate
(C2C) with each other in line with the same purpose of the
government. The model approaches trust in e-participation as a
bi-directional relationship between the government and citizens
within the context of a reliable mutual communication system.
7. CONCLUSION AND FUTURE WORKS
The citizen trust issue is a polysemous concept, not
etymologically but contingently that can refer to different but
related meanings depending on the subjects, channels, and
interactions in hand. There is a need for a holistic view of separate
construal in the literature and a comprehensive approach to
establishing an environment of trust in the matter of e-
participation. This study presents the results of a systematic
review of 11 selected peer-reviewed articles (out of a pool of 22
articles) about public trust in e-participation. The study contains
two main contributions. First, it provides a general picture of the
literature on the relationship between trust and e-participation.
Secondly, the study proposes an integrative model of the trust-
building environment. The model aims to offer practical solutions
by combining the existing models on trust in e-participation.
The review indicates that the interaction between trust and e-
participation can be successful if there is a mutual relationship
between the government and citizens as well as among citizens.
Transparency, accountability, and responsiveness are the most
important pillars of the trust-building process in e-participation
issues. These pillars corroborate the feeling of trust that enables
citizens to exchange opinions, reach a common opinion, organize
and involve in policymaking.
The analysis signifies relationality as a founding principle for
trust formation and consolidation that “relations are not the
property of agents but of the relational systems of agents built up
connected pairs of interacting agent” . While citizens’
behavior can be unpredictable, theorists and modelers aim to
avoid the same problems of indeterminacy. The government,
therefore, supports instant-active participation through feedbacks
that facilitate management mechanisms. The relational trust must
be correlatively re-created at instants, not only by creating
technical infrastructure. Thus, sustainability appears to be vital to
Internet services and technologies are so intensely involved in
all daily life activities so that the rejections and barriers to
technology acceptance should be solved by again technology
itself. Since distrust of technological advancements in public
service delivery may be the reason to avoid e-participation, the
solution is in the adoption of technology-based systems and
This study has some coverage-respective and methodological
models. The first limitation is the restriction to concentrate on the
government, e-government and public as a whole with their all
sub-parts rather than separately defining the roles and effects of
government organizations, policymakers, public groups, etc. In
addition, the relation between trust-related concepts such as
transparency, accountability or responsiveness is not reviewed in
the literature. The last limitation is about the database selection
that the study includes articles indexed in the DGRL.
Future studies need to examine the establishment of relational
trust in e-participation processes and activities through empirical
studies to answer to what extent the relational trust model is able
7. Establishing relational trust in e-Participation: a systematic
literature review to propose a model
ICEGOV 2020, 23-25 September 2020, Athens, Greece
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