Factors affecting openness of local government websites: Examining the differences across planning, finance and police departments

Nilay Yavuz, Eric Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in public organizations increasingly holds the potential to improve transparency, accountability, and public participation, by providing a more effective and efficient disclosure of information to the citizens and organizations and by providing channels for interaction with the government. While transparency and interactivity features of government websites constitute two critical elements for public participation and democracy facilitated by web-based technologies, little research has been done to explain why some public organizations choose to deploy website technology more openly with these features. This paper aims to examine the managerial, organizational, and environmental factors that are related to variation in transparency and interactivity features of local government websites, which we believe are key dimensions to governmental website openness. The paper first develops a literature informed conceptual model of governmental website openness and then tests this model using data from a national survey of 850 government managers in 500 cities. The model results are compared across three different departments: community development, finance, and police department. Overall findings indicate that higher website openness is positively related to increased frequency of public participation in agency decision making and civil society influence, increased technical capacity, lower organizational control, and higher perceived usefulness of website technology. In addition, due to differences in the operating contexts of the departments, the effects of organizational control, technical capacity, environmental influences, and perceived usefulness of website technology on governmental website openness tend to differ by the type of department.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-583
Number of pages10
JournalGovernment Information Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014


  • Accountability
  • Government website openness
  • Local governments
  • Open government
  • Public participation
  • Transparency
  • Website technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law


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