Critical Reflections on Interactive Governance
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Critical Reflections on Interactive Governance

Self-organization and Participation in Public Governance

Edited by Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk

In many countries, government and society have undergone a major shift in recent years, now tending toward ‘smaller government’ and ‘bigger society’. This development has lent increased meaning to the notion of interactive governance, a concept that this book takes not as a normative ideal but as an empirical phenomenon that needs constant critical scrutiny, reflection and embedding in modern societies.
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Chapter 9: What do public officials think about citizens? The role of public officials’ trust and their perceptions of citizens’ trustworthiness in interactive governance

Stéphane Moyson, Steven van de Walle and Sandra Groeneveld


In Chapter 9 Moyson, Van de Walle and Groeneveld take a critical look at the views public officials have of citizens, in particular their level of trust toward citizens’ ability, integrity and benevolence, when engaging in administrative interactions. Public officials’ trust is essential in interactive governance, because it may stimulate the compliance and trust of citizens toward public administration. In turn, this may increase the effectiveness of public service delivery. Public officials’ trust builds over time when they have interactions with trustworthy citizens. Hence, trust between public officials and citizens is at the same time an essential requirement for interactive governance and an outcome of such interactions. Extensive research thus far has not yet revealed many individual factors of officials’ trust toward citizens or their perceptions of citizens’ trustworthiness. In addition, few studies have been conducted on the institutional and organizational factors of trust and trustworthiness. Moyson et al. discuss this research and subsequently suggest avenues for future studies.

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