Fostering cooperative community behavior with IT tools: the influence of a designed deliberative space on efforts to address collective challenges


  • Qian Hu Assistant Professor School of Public Administration University of Central Florida
  • Erik Johnston
  • Libby Hemphill



How to encourage cooperative behavior and facilitate collaboration amongst diverse stakeholders to achieve collective goals remains a longstanding question in realizing a community’s capacity for local problem solving. Governments have increasingly adopted inclusive processes to engage non-state actors, and especially active engagement of citizens and communities in solving local policy challenges. Yet, the success of this inclusive approach depends on whether and to what extent all involved individuals, interest groups, communities, and government agencies can collectively deliberate and work together.  We conducted experiments to explore the potential of IT-facilitated communication environment designed for deliberation activities to address collective challenges. Our unique experimental site for this research is a designed deliberation space that can seat up to 30 participants surrounded by the 260-degree seven-screen communal display. Our study shows that when people deliberate on a local community challenge under the environment with a communal display, they show more cooperative behavior in a social dilemma scenario than those who deliberate on the same challenge presented on individual displays. This study highlights the potential of technology’s influence on public deliberation in such a way as to promoting collective behavior.






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