To “e-” or not to “e-”: Re-locating innovation in “electronic” decision-making

Ben Li


This paper presents evidence from three global democratic organizations that “e-” is not a relevant modifier of decision-making concepts related to “democracy”. Defining “e-” as shorthand for decision-making skills and tools enabled by ICTs, including computer-mediated communication (CMC), it tests whether “e-” is an “incremental” innovation augmenting existing capabilities of democracy as a decision-making tool. It finds that “e-“ acts as a “radical” innovation to democratic decision-making tools by providing different capabilities than democracy. It also finds that indicators of good democratic decision-making (participation, sustainability, and impact) say little about the ability of “e-” to achieve the same desirable goals aspired by democracy.


Innovation; Internet; decision-making; democracy; computer-mediated communication

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