Article Government Information Quarterly

Facts and feelings: The role of rational and irrational factors in citizens’ channel choices

July 2016 | Willem Pieterson

Together with Wolfgang Ebbers, Marloes Jansen and Lidwien van de Wijngaert, Dr. Willem Pieterson published an article in the journal “Government Information Quarterly” entitled “Facts and feelings: The role of rational and irrational factors in citizens’ channel choices”.

Publication Summary
In the past decades, the topic of how and why citizens choose certain service channels to interact with governments has received widespread attention as it is an important component of government service channel strategies. Most of the existing work, however, suffers from two problems. The first is an ongoing focus on a limited set of possible determinants, making it hard to assess which of these factors are most important. The second is the underlying assumption that citizens rationally assess their situation and based on the task at hand choose the best fitting service channel. In this article we challenge both assumptions. We review the work on channel choice and rationality in decision making. Based on this review we propose and empirically test a model combining different determinants and decision making processes. Our findings show that citizens sometimes choose channels rationally and sometimes irrationally. The task at hand, personal characteristics, and situation trigger which factors are most important. As a consequence, models focused on channel strategies should focus less on rational ‘matching’ and more on situational factors.

Full reference
Ebbers, W. E., Jansen, M. G., Pieterson, W. J., & van de Wijngaert, L. A. (2016). Facts and feelings: The role of rational and irrational factors in citizens’ channel choices. Government information quarterly, 33(3), 506-515.