Unraveling Citizen Engagement by studying Municipal Practices

Vinitha Siebers, G.M. van Dijk, Rob van Eijbergen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Citizen engagement can take various forms and is receiving a great deal of interest, esspecially in municipalities, which are embracing citizen engagement and searching for ways to integrate it in their day to day work. In theory development, the concept of citizen engagement is captured with various terms covering numerous aspects. This leads to inconsistency and ambiguity and can lead to unproductive debates among those who organize it. Empirical research on how municipalities develop citizen engagement is still limited. This article aims at a deeper understanding of the phenomenon by exploring dominant patterns in the way municipalities organize citizen engagement, the role of those involved and practices that emerge. This article builds on empirical research in 4 Dutch municipalities, 1 Danish municipality and 1 South African municipality. It appears
that in practice, citizen engagement comes with a complex dynamic. Organizing citizen engagement affects the entire municipality and can be seen as an intervention in the municipal organization and those involved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number21
Pages (from-to)80-97
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Public Management Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • citizen engagement, municipalities, local practices


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