Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 31 Number 3 2014 pp. 172-212

Drivers of Quantity and Quality of Participation in Online Policy Deliberation Forums

Phang, Chee Wei, Kankanhalli, Atreyi, and Huang, Lihua


Online policy deliberation forums (OPDFs) have been increasingly initiated by governments to allow citizens to provide their input and discuss policy issues. Yet, failure to garner participation, in terms of both quantity and quality, prevents the realization of their benefits. In this regard, prior research has suggested different antecedents for the quantity and quality of participation in online forums, but without systematically considering their differences. To address this research gap, in this study we develop a theoretical model to explain the antecedents of quantity and quality of OPDF participation and test the model using a survey and content analysis of forum logs. The results indicate that quantity of participation is enhanced by the information-technology-enabled resource factor of communality but negatively influenced by collective incentives. In contrast, the antecedents of the quality of participation include both motivational and resource factors. Furthermore, communality accentuates the perceived collective incentives and persuasion benefit of participation. This study contributes to the research by proposing and testing a theoretical model that explains the different antecedents of the quantity and quality of participation in OPDFs. More broadly, the findings inform research and practice on how outcomes of web-enabled cocreation, such as those generated through OPDF participation, can be evaluated and enhanced in these online communities.

Key words and phrases: cocreation, online policy deliberation forum, participation theory, public policy deliberation, quality of participation, quantity of participation