Towards the enhancement of e-democracy: identifying the notion of the ‘middleman paradox’
The challenge towards e-democracy, through the electronic transformation
of political systems, has become increasingly evident within developed economies.
It is regarded as an approach for increased and better quality citizen
participation in the democratic processes. E-democracy forms a component of
overall e-government initiatives where technology adoption and diffusion, to
enhance wider access to, and the delivery of, government services, are apparent.
However, previous research demonstrates that very few e-democracy proposals
survive the stage of formal political decision-making to become substantive egovernment
projects within national or international agendas. Furthermore, the
implementation of e-democracy projects is undertaken at a much slower pace
and with dramatically less support than the implementation of other, so-called
e-administration, activities in the public sector.
The research in this paper considers the notion of the ‘middleman paradox’,
presenting theoretical and empirical evidence that further investigates the phenomenon
associated with potential e-democracy improvements. Specifically, the
paper adds a new dimension to existing theories on the hesitant evolution of
e-democracy that clearly identifies politicians as an inhibiting factor. Proposals are
made for an enhancement of these processes, and suggestions for further applicable
research are demonstrated.
e-government, e-administration, e-democracy, digital democracy
As the awareness for e-government is increasing, governments and societies all around the
globe are engaging with a digital future for the public sector. Government agencies are using
technology to enhance the access to, and the delivery of, government services to citizens,