Which technology to which challenge in democratic governance? An approach using design science research

Maria Anastasiadou, Vitor Santos, Filipe Montargil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Information systems (IS) play an important role in contemporary society, but critical questions remain on their potential use and impact on democracy. This study aims to contribute to the discussion on which technology can be adequate to which major challenge of democratic governance, through the identification and pairing of challenges of democratic governance with specific information technologies with the potential to be used in applications related to this challenge. This perspective can be considered positioned in the confluence between IS, political science and public administration. Design/methodology/approach: Design science research, a research approach in IS, was used. The suggestion of a conceptual framework with pairs of challenges in democratic governance and information technologies was initially developed. In a subsequent phase, this framework was discussed and assessed through interviews with a panel of selected experts in e-government and IS, reaching a revised conceptual framework. Findings: Results suggest that the conceptual pairing of challenges in democratic governance with IS’s solutions such as artificial intelligence, systems integration or blockchain technologies, for instance, if used in a critical, transparent and accountable way, can play a role in capacitating the delivery of better public services and contribute to encouraging citizen trust and political participation. These results may contribute to open a methodological agenda dedicated to the selection of adequate IS resources to address specific challenges of democratic governance, as well as to help in the development of public policies in the area. Originality/value: Previous studies on digital government offer important insights on the impact of information and communication technologies-enabled public governance tools for government openness, public service efficiency and user-friendliness, and for citizen political participation and societal mobilization. But the literature still lacks a systematic conceptual framework mapping and assessing the role of distinctive IS instruments in democratic challenge-solving and specifying functional relationships between specific technology and democratic outcomes. This paper aims to contribute to filling this analytical gap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-531
Number of pages20
JournalTransforming Government: People, Process and Policy
Issue number4
Early online date11 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021


  • Democracy
  • Design science research (DSR)
  • Governance
  • Government
  • Information systems (IS)
  • Participation
  • Public services
  • Transparency


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