URL with Digital Object Identifier
User participation is considered an effective way to conduct requirements engineering, but user-developer perception gaps in requirements understanding occur frequently. Since user participation in practice is not as active as we expect and the requirements perception gap has been recognized as a risk that negatively affects projects, exploring whether user-developer perception gaps in requirements understanding will hinder user participation is worthwhile. This will help develop a greater comprehension of the intertwined relationship between user participation and perception gap, a topic that has not yet been extensively examined. This study investigates the direct and mediating influences of user-developer requirements perception gaps on user participation by integrating requirements uncertainty and top management support. Survey data collected from 140 subjects were examined and analyzed using structural equation modeling. The results indicate that perception gaps have a direct negative effect on user participation and negate completely the positive effect of top management support on user participation. Additionally, perception gaps do not have a mediating effect between requirements uncertainty and user participation because requirements uncertainty does not significantly and directly affect user participation, but requirements uncertainty indirectly influences user participation due to its significant direct effect on perception gaps. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed, and limitations and possible future research areas are identified.