Defining the role of citizen participation in administrative settings: An examination of New York State environmental management councils

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration


Patricia Ingraham


Citizen participation, Administrative, New York, Environmental management

Subject Categories

Environmental Sciences | Public Administration


The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the influences upon the role of the citizen participant. In particular, the focus of this research is to gather information on the self-perceptions of citizen participants in administrative settings. How has the field of public administration viewed citizen participation and how has this view shaped the role of the citizen participant?

This dissertation examines some of the historical factors that have influenced the role of the citizen participant, such as the growth of the administrative state and the influence of technical expertise and social equity, as well as the need for bureaucratic institutions to be responsive and representative institutions. A conceptual framework is developed that shows how an underlying paradigm of technical expertise and political representativeness influence the self-perception of citizen advisors regarding their role in the process of citizen participation.

Research was gathered from a typical citizen advisory structure in New York State, comprised of citizen participants who have been appointed by a chief executive or legislative body and then work with the administration. Citizens were asked what they believed their role to be in the process of citizen participation. It was found that there are three major dimensions to the role of citizen participant: technical expert, social representative and policy advocate. This research has helped to define the framework that influences the role of citizen participation.


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