The use of social media as a public participation strategy in the public service of Namibia

Maritz, Yrika Vanessa (2015-04)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This exploratory study attempts to establish the readiness of the Namibian government in using social media as a strategy for public participation. The subject of public participation as a strategy to improve the process of policymaking has been researched extensively. Similarly, the use of social media to promote public participation which in turn influences service delivery is gaining popularity in many scholarly works. However, there is still a paucity of research investigating the use of social media as a public participation strategy to improve policymaking. Given the speed at which people worldwide have embraced the use of social media, the current study provides an opportunity to establish how the Namibian government can utilise social media as a strategy to facilitate public participation. This two-way engagement is necessary to improve the government’s efforts in the development of policies and programmes and ultimately improved service delivery. Theoretically, the analysis in this study centred on theories of public participation and emergent theories of the use of social media for good governance. The current study utilised a multi-case study approach and a combination of research techniques in collecting data. These included document analysis – in both paper and digital formats – and unstructured interviews with key respondents from the main government institutions and their strategic role in the implementation of e-government in Namibia. The study employed a systematic approach in answering all five research questions to meet the research objectives. It concludes that, although the Namibian context and legislative framework support public participation broadly, there are still a number of challenges which impact on the readiness to use social media as a strategy for public participation in the Public Service of Namibia. Following this, a set of recommendations for both policy and further research is presented.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie ondersoekende studie poog om die gereedheid van die Namibiese regering om sosiale media as werktuig vir publieke deelname te vestig. Die onderwerp van publieke deelname as ’n werktuig om die beleidmakingsproses te verbeter, is reeds omvattend nagevors. Die gebruik van sosiale media om publieke deelname te bevorder wat om die beurt dienslewering beïnvloed, neem in verskeie akademiese bronne toe in populariteit. Navorsing wat die gebruik van sosiale media as werktuig vir publieke deelname om beleidsmaking te verbeter is skaars. Gegewe die spoed waarteen mense wêreldwyd die gebruik van sosiale media aanneem, bied hierdie studie die geleentheid om vas te stel hoe die Namibiese regering sosiale media as werktuig om publieke deelname te fasiliteer, kan gebruik. Hierdie tweerigtingbetrokkenheid is noodsaaklik om die regering se pogings in die ontwikkeling van beleide en programme en uiteindelik dienslewering te verbeter. Teoreties is die analise in hierdie studie gesentreer om teorieë oor publieke deelname en opkomende teoreë oor die gebruik van sosiale media vir goeie regeringsgedrag. Die huidige studie het ’n veelvoudige gevallestudie en ’n kombinasie van navorsingstegnieke ingespan om data in te samel. Dit het dokumentanalise – beide papier- en digitale formate – en ongestruktureerde onderhoude met sleutelrespondente van die hoofregeringsinstansies en hul strategiese rol in die implementering van e-regering in Namibië ingesluit. Die studie het van ’n sistematiese benadering gebruik gemaak om al vyf navorsingsvrae te beantwoord om sodoende aan die navorsingsdoelstellings te voldoen. Die studie bevind dat alhoewel die Namibiese konteks en wetgewende raamwerk publieke deelname breedweg ondersteun daar steeds ’n aantal uitdagings is wat ’n impak het op die gereedheid van sosiale media as ’n werktuig vir publieke deelname in die Openbare Diens van Namibië. Vervolgens word ’n stel voorstelle vir beide beleid en verdere navorsing aangebied.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96916
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