Public input methods impacting confidence in government

Lisa M. PytlikZillig, Alan J. Tomkins, Mitchel N. Herian, Joseph A. Hamm, Tarik Abdel-Monem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Municipalities commonly ask the public to give input by answering questions about their preferences. There is some belief that input enhances the public's confidence in government. The purpose of this paper is to examine whether different types of input activities (obtained by phone or online surveys, or via face-to-face engagements) differentially impact confidence. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected over two years from different input activities undertaken to inform a city's budgeting and performance measures' determinations. Findings: Significant amounts of variance in the public's confidence in municipal governments are accounted for by independent predictors such as current satisfaction, perceived trustworthiness, legitimacy, and loyalty to the institution. Compared to online and phone surveys, face-to-face input methods seem to have a particularly strong, positive relationship with the public's perceptions of the trustworthiness (e.g. competence, integrity, benevolence) of municipal government officials. Persons who participate in face-to-face, online, or phone events differ both in extent of confidence and, to a small extent, in the bases of their confidence. Research limitations/implications: The study design is correlational rather than experimental and data were not originally gathered to test the identified hypotheses. In addition, it is not prudent to put too much stock in results from only one jurisdiction that relied primarily on convenience samples. Originality/value: In instances in which enhancing confidence in the institution is a specific objective of public input, this work provides researchers and practitioners with guidance to better anticipate which input technique(s) works best and why.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-111
Number of pages20
JournalTransforming Government: People, Process and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Citizen participation
  • Confidence
  • Local government
  • Municipal government
  • Public input
  • Public participation
  • Trust
  • United States of America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management


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