Political self-efficacy… mmm (updated)

I wrote with my colleage Colin Smith a brief paper on the use of self-efficacy in evaluating e-participation, which I presented at EDEM09 yesterday. As a result of this, a whole new world is opening up before me: here for instance are two interesting sounding papers pulled up from a bit of random googling while waiting on a plane in Vienna airport:

  • olitical behavior is triggered by the presence of a variety of material and cognitive resources, including political efficacy. The dominant view conceptualizes efficacy as capital, used to overcome obstacles to participation. Our theory suggests that unlike other resources, efficacy aids in the development of habitual participation by activating a particular negative emotion, anger. Using the 1990–1992 NES Panel, we find that internal efficacy boosts participation in part by facilitating anger, but not fear, in response to policy threats. This partial mediating effect operates primarily among younger citizens who are in the process of developing the habit of participation. External efficacy, because it is not self-referential, is not causally linked to participation via emotions. Finally, internal efficacy is enhanced by successful participation in politics, closing a feedback loop that helps explain participatory habits.
  • Self- and other-ratings on the Big Five were used to predict political efficacy beliefs and political participation in two studies, using both cross-sectional and longitudinal data. Hierarchical regressions showed that personality traits contribute to political efficacy and participation, beyond the predictive value of socio-demographic variables. Structural equation modeling corroborated a mediational model in which Openness and Energy/Extraversion accounted for significant variance in political self-efficacy beliefs, which in turn accounted for political participation. Whereas both traits have concurrent validity, only Energy/Extraversion remained a significant distal predictor of adult political participation

No idea (yet) if they’re any good… but the ideas do sound directly applicable to evaluation of e-participation projects… political phsychology meets information systems. A mash-up made in heaven?

Update 13 Oct 09 – Fixed link to the second paper, and replaced the first with a similar item with availability of the source article


About Peter Cruickshank

Lecturer in the School of Computing and a member of the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. Interested in information systems, learning, politics, society, security and where they intersect. My attempts at rounding out my character include food, cinema, running, history and, together with my lovely wife, bringing up a cat and a couple of kids.
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