Key stakeholders and constituents that participate in democratic decision making process
From an overview, it is evident that the main participants in the decision making process are the public and the government. The participants can however be classified into different categories (Stansbury, 2004). This is because it is practically impossible to include the entire citizen population in decision making process. As a result, they are commonly represented by specific interest groups. It is notable that the particular constituents and stakeholders of the democratic decision making process are determined by the particular decision being made (Stansbury, 2004). The specific stakeholders are again influenced by the particular ways as well as levels with which the citizen participation takes place. For instance, the participation or decision making process may be involve informal or formal settings, national or local levels and institutions such as courts, public service bodies or individual forums such as public protests (Bracken, Grable, O'Brien, Sobrero, & Warren, 2009). However, from a general perspective the stakeholders include government institutions and departments, elected legislative leaders, locally elected leaders, NGOs, church leaders, community leaders, and public servants among others (Huang & Feeney, 2016).
Pros of Allowing Direct Citizen Participation in Deciding Policy Outcomes in Democratic Decision Making
One major benefit associated with allowing greater citizen participation in the policy making process is that the policies become more acceptable to the citizens. The citizens become accepting to the policy, as well as all of its shortcomings if there are any, because they consider that it is their own (Bracken, Grable, O'Brien, Sobrero, & Warren, 2009). This makes the policies more realistic and effective. From another perspective, the benefit of the increased participation is that the citizens get to become more supportive of their government and its decisions because they feel that they are consulted in the policy making process hence they determine the policies that are in place (Huang & Feeney, 2016). This support usually improves the efficiency of the government.
Governments become more accountable when there is increased citizen participation. They as a result become more effective and focused on meeting the needs and demands of the citizens (Huang & Feeney, 2016). They get to develop good policies and implement decisions that are beneficial to the entire population. In the long run this ensures that the country becomes more prosperous because existing policies benefit everyone. The increased transparency and participation also improves the trust that the people have of their government and this provides the government with more powers to carry out its mandate (Jimenez-Gomez & Gasco Hernandez, 2016).
Cons of Allowing Direct Citizen Participation in Deciding Policy Outcomes in Democratic Decision Making
Despite the benefits of having increased citizen participation, it is notable that the increased participation also has its fair share of demerits. For instance, increasing citizen participation is usually a costly affair (Bracken, Grable, O'Brien, Sobrero, & Warren, 2009). It is expensive to create awareness among the general public as well as collect the views of citizens. Furthermore, this makes the decision making process long and tedious. This is because it is not easy to collect the views of everyone and also different citizens have different views and opinion (Huang & Feeney, 2016). This makes it hard for a majority of them to come to some consensus on some sensitive issues.
Another disadvantage of increasing citizen participation is that it makes it practically impossible for a government to respond rapidly to pertinent issues (Roberts, 2015). For example, in matters of imminent national security, getting to engage in citizen participation before making decisions will most likely result in a country experiencing increased threats to its security (Roberts, 2015). At times the threats may even be followed before the government decided on how to respond to them. This point of view shows that depending on the circumstance, citizen participation can hinder the effectiveness of a country (Roberts, 2015). From a different perspective, the increased participation can be seen as increasing the empowerment of the citizens and when fully empowered, citizens can derail the actions and efficiency of the government through initiatives such as protests.
Aladalah, M., Yen, C., & Lee, V. (2015). Enabling Citizen Participation in Gov 2.0: An Empowerment Perspective. Electronic Journal Of E-Government, 13(2) , 77.
Bengtsson, Å., & Christensen, H. (2016). Ideals and Actions: Do Citizens’ Patterns of Political Participation Correspond to their Conceptions of Democracy? Government & Opposition, 51(2) , 234. doi:10.1017/gov.2014.29.
Bracken, S., Grable, L., O'Brien, M., Sobrero, P., & Warren, A. (2009). Democratic Strategies Enhance Engagement and Valued Results. Journal Of Higher Education Outreach And Engagement, 13(4) , 93-116.
Dryzek, J. (2002). A Post-Positivist Policy Analytic Travelogue. The Good Society Volume 11 Number 1 , pp 32-36.
Huang, W., & Feeney, M. K. (2016). Citizen Participation in Local Government Decision Making. Review Of Public Personnel Administration, 36(2) , 188. doi:10.1177/0734371X15576410.
Jimenez-Gomez, C. E., & Gasco Hernandez, M. (2016). Achieving Open Justice Through Citizen Participation and Transparency. Hershey PA: Information Science Reference.
Roberts, N. C. (2015). The Age of Direct Citizen Participation. London: Routledge.
Stansbury, R. A. (2004). Citizen Participation in Decision-Making: Is it Worth the Effort? Public Administration Review Vol. 64, No. 1 , 1-24.
Tudor, A. (2009). Beyond Empiricism : Philosophy of Science in Sociology. London: Routledge.
White, L. G. (1994). Policy Analysis as Discourse. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 13, No. 3 , pp.506-525.
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