‘Matrix Revolutions? An analysis of party organization and ICT’

Published in the journal of Information, Communication and Society, Vol. 13, Issue 4 June 2010, pages 574 – 591.

Abstract: This article investigates the characteristics of political parties' websites in the Republic of Ireland and seeks to evaluate whether parties' organizational structures influence the manner in which they present themselves online. Ireland has been chosen as a research environment because there is significant variation among political parties in the political system in terms of size, age, ideological coherence and organizational structure. Ireland is also an interesting test case for the evolution of politicized internet usage due to the large increase that has taken place in Information and Communications Technology availability and usage in the country over the past decade. We argue that features of internal party organization affect the nature of internet usage across political parties. Specifically, we hypothesize that parties with highly centralized and hierarchical organizational structures will be less likely to have interactive features on their websites than parties with less centralized organizational structures. The dependent variable in this study is the extent of interactive content on parties' websites and is constructed through an empirical analysis of parties' sites using a widely used coding scheme. We then measure Irish political parties' internal organizations employing Janda's (1980) scale of centralization of power, and we use this measure as an independent variable. We test for the hypothesized relationship between the dependent and independent variables, employing non-parametric statistical techniques.

Full paper available to download via the informaworld website.

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