The Five-Pillar-Model of Parties’ Migration into the Digital

15 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2019

Date Written: May 18, 2019


The analysis of political parties’ adaptation processes concerning their use of web-based or digital technologies has been an aspect of party research for about 20 years. Scholars addressed parties’ communication (e.g. Löfgren and Smith 2003; Roemmele 2003), membership (e.g. Scarrow 2014, Gibson et al. 2017), intra-party decision-making (e.g. Gauja 2015), funding (e.g. Hindman 2005), and other features of party routine. However, there seems to be a lack of a systematic outline of what aspects parties might want to migrate into the digital sphere and what aspects should remain offline. Following a meta-analysis of scholarly literature combined with party observation, the proposed paper presents a 5-by-3-matrix. The five pillars describe pivotal parts of political parties: (A) party membership, (B) leaders and candidates, (C) policy program, (D) public image, and (E) resources. The aim of this five-pillar-model is twofold: First, the model intends to provide a tool for structuring scholarly literature on parties’ online adaptation and second, to provide a useful frame for further analysis of parties’ migration into the digital sphere, especially from a comparative perspective.

Keywords: Political Party, Digitalization, Online, Communication, Membership, Meta-Analysis

Suggested Citation

Fitzpatrick, Jasmin, The Five-Pillar-Model of Parties’ Migration into the Digital (May 18, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Jasmin Fitzpatrick (Contact Author)

Department of Political Science ( email )

Jakob-Welder-Weg 12
Mainz, 55099


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