IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this book chapter

A Critical Look at Citizen Participation Processes in Knowledge-Based Societies within the Framework of Representative (Parliamentary) Democracies


  • Stella van Rijn

    (Nyenrode Business University, The Netherlands)

  • René Tissen

    (Nyenrode Business University, The Netherlands)


The great complexity of problems that modern local, regional and national governments are faced with in the current knowledge intensive context of open societies in a globalized world, force these governments to become more creative in designing and implementing effective policy solutions in which creative citizens actively contribute toward the proper functioning of society and societal change. We live in an ‘enlightened’ era in which societies function as ‘knowledge democracies’ but without adequate mechanisms to address complex and often far reaching challenges in the field of citizen participation. It is clear that the overall structure and guiding principles and processes of traditional representative democracies offer limited options for active and successful citizen participation. To close the democratic gap in traditional representative structures, many governments have sought participation in top down processes resulting in temporary representational structures for citizen participation. Other initiatives such as deliberative structures focus on participation in decisionmaking processes. The knowledge democracy dominated by the creative class however, does not require top down and incidental, but bottom up and continuous involvement that interplays with the reality of constant change of the knowledge society and the individualism of the creative class. An analysis based on organizational change theory of the top down ‘vision/decision making perspective’ with the bottom up ‘knowledge/participation perspective’ shows substantial differences in governance context, structure and process approach, indicating that a transitional change is currently taking place, however not the transformative change that is required in the knowledge democracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Stella van Rijn & René Tissen, 2013. "A Critical Look at Citizen Participation Processes in Knowledge-Based Societies within the Framework of Representative (Parliamentary) Democracies," Active Citizenship by Knowledge Management & Innovation: Proceedings of the Management, Knowledge and Learning International Conference 2013, ToKnowPress.
  • Handle: RePEc:tkp:mklp13:685-692

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: full text
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: Conference Programme
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tkp:mklp13:685-692. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alen Jezovnik). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.