درک تکامل دولت الکترونیکی: نفوذ سیستم قوانین در پویایی های بخش دولتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|8373||2007||25 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Government Information Quarterly, Volume 24, Issue 2, April 2007, Pages 266–290
Electronic government has been defined as the use of information and communication technologies in government settings. However, it is neither a homogeneous nor a static phenomenon. Recent empirical studies have identified two important dynamics in e-government evolution. First, e-government in general has evolved from its initial presence on the Internet to more transactional and integrated applications. Second, at the aggregate level and as a general trend, national governments have started adding technological and organizational sophistication and state and local governments have followed. Based on the study of systems of rules, this paper argues that these two dynamics in the evolution of e-government are, at least in part, the result of pressures from public managers attempting to solve problems and from citizens, businesses, and other stakeholders, attempting to control the actions of public managers. Both forces, related to performance and accountability, respectively, have promoted change in the systems of rules governing the design, implementation, and use of e-government initiatives. Specifically, they have generated a cycle that continually increases technological and organizational sophistication in e-government initiatives and have also promoted the episodic and evolving adoption of similar features across levels of government. These two related evolutionary dynamics and the characterization of e-government as systems of rules and standards have some important policy implications, which are briefly discussed at the end of the paper.
Governments are increasingly using information and communication technologies in their daily operations and businesses. As a consequence, the study of e-government has increased in recent years and researchers are developing theoretical and conceptual models to understand different aspects of e-government (see for example Cresswell and Pardo, 2001, Dawes et al., 2004, Fountain, 2001, Gil-García and Pardo, 2005, Gupta and Jana, 2003 and Moon, 2002). An important portion of the emergent literature attempts to conceptualize or characterize electronic government and these articles can be classified in three broad approaches: (1) definitional, (2) evolutionary, and (3) stakeholder-oriented (Gil-García and Luna-Reyes, 2003 and Schelin, 2003). This paper focuses on the evolutionary approach, which describes the stages of e-government in terms of their degree of technological and organizational sophistication (Gil-García and Luna-Reyes, 2003, Moon, 2002 and Schelin, 2003). Within this evolutionary approach, several studies have been developed, but their scope is mainly descriptive. In order to explain how and why this evolution has taken place, more analytical research and sound theoretical frameworks are needed. This paper proposes a theory of e-government evolution as a result of important dynamics found in the way in which systems of rules interact with action in organizational settings. This theoretical framework poses a link between how public managers decide on e-government initiatives and how businesses, citizens, and other stakeholders involved in the policy process internalize those decisions and subsequently influence them over time. In the context of e-government evolution, we use institutional theory and the study of rules as sources of change (Feldman, 2000) to reframe the well-established politics-and-administration dilemma (Wilson, 1887). Our theory explains that, at the aggregate level, e-government has been adding more technological and organizational sophistication as a result of both institutional isomorphism (La Porte, Demchak, & Friis, 2001) and pressures from businesses, citizens, politicians, interest groups, and other stakeholders (Kuk, 2003, Reddick, 2004 and Salem, 2003). In addition, e-government initiatives are evolving from the national to the local level (West, 2005). If local governments are more responsive to citizens' needs, as some devolution scholars argue, the situation described above may imply a change from self-imposed initiatives searching for solutions (administration performance), to externally imposed requirements by businesses, citizens, and other stakeholders (politics accountability). This paper is organized in seven sections including these introductory comments. Section 2 describes two dynamics of e-government evolution. First, there is a constant addition of technological sophistication, interaction capabilities, and business rules. This dynamic has been framed as e-government stages from presence to transaction to integration. Second, the evolution according to these stages has not been equal at all levels of government. In fact, there seems to be a trend from the national level to state and local governments. Section 3 introduces basic concepts about the study of rules and rule evolution. In Section 4, it is shown how systems of rules can be designed mainly to address problems (performance) or to exercise control (accountability). These two dimensions are not mutually exclusive and all rule systems, including e-government, represent certain degree of both solution-guiding and behavior-constraining dimensions. Section 5 integrates the bi-dimensional framework of systems of rules with some of the complexities of government settings. Specifically, this section addresses the issue of multiple stakeholders and therefore multiple designers of rule systems in the public sector. It also provides some examples of how this framework works for e-government initiatives. In Section 6, the politics and administration dilemma is revisited and framed in terms of performance, accountability, and the bi-dimensional framework of systems of rules. This framing is exemplified by analyzing the second dynamic of e-government evolution and hypothesizing some potential implications. Finally, Section 7 discusses other implications of the theoretical model and suggests avenues for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper explored the interaction between the way e-government evolves over time and the way in which the systems of rules that influence e-government action change. We used institutional theory and the study of rules to reframe the well-established politics and administration dilemma in our model. Additionally, we have characterized the design problem in systems of rules as a multidesigner situation in the public sector. In this case, the actors involved have different interests along different dimensions that make coordination very difficult. It seems that, in the case of public sector action, in general, and e-government initiatives, in particular, the development of a shared vision between public managers and their constituencies of the initiatives to be accomplished could be key for a successful outcome across dimensions and expectations. Part of what is needed to create a useful shared vision is the development of clear dynamic indicators for the evaluation of e-government initiatives. Researchers argue that metrics used to asses e-government initiatives are, “designed to measure the static nature of e-government performance mainly based on Web content analysis” (Moon, Welch, & Wong, 2005, p. 10), not capturing adequately the dynamic nature of their actions and interactions. In addition, this framework may also have implications for individual e-government initiatives; we argue that public managers are in charge for a period of time in which they develop and test initiatives to assess their efficiency and effectiveness. However, after the extent–the combination of frequency and importance–of use of those initiatives reach a critical point (point y in Fig. 6)–herein called tipping point (for an extended treatment of the subject, see Sterman, 2000)–the control of the initiative changes to the citizens and other stakeholders by declaring the existence of the initiative as a requirement for ‘normal’ operation.This insight has potential implications in the way in which new initiatives are to be designed and tested (by bureaucrats) in order to maintain their control and be able to contain its use and growth. Furthermore, it has been argued that setting the pace for implementation of e-government in a democratic environment “requires the understanding of the different mental models according to which citizens, bureaucrats and politicians operate” (Moon & Welch, 2004, p. 9). According to this rationale, public managers might be better off when, and if, they identify where the tipping point is to determine if they want the e-government initiative to behave like curve ‘A’ in Fig. 6, or in a more constrained fashion like curve ‘B’, or if needed, terminate the initiative (curve ‘C’). In order to find the said tipping point, public managers may rely on longitudinal studies of relevant characteristics of e-government action–like sources of funding and requirements–and, additionally, in the use of dynamic modeling techniques (Richardson and Pugh, 1981 and Sterman, 2000). In general, public managers might be able to maintain control of the e-government initiative from point 0 in the extent of use scale to point x; beyond that point, citizens and other stakeholders will control the initiative via establishing requirements–explicit or implicit–of e-government operation and using those systems. Simultaneously, “as with all other types of significant managerial activities by public organizations, [e-government] success will be determined by the ability of public servants to understand and address the desires and concerns of the governing citizens and to communicate informed decisions to the same individuals as governed citizens” (Moon & Welch, 2004, p. 9). One example should serve to clarify how this can work for specific e-government initiatives. First, a new application for online drivers' license renewal is developed. For some time, citizens and other stakeholders start using the application at a very low pace (beginning of the curve). During that initial period and until certain extent of use (represented by x), public managers can evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the new application and make decisions about modifications or even terminating the program (which would lead to a curve like C in Fig. 6). Once many stakeholders are using the application, or relatively few stakeholders are using the application very intensively (extent of use), which is represented as the curve after point y, terminating the program would be a very difficult option. By then, citizens, businesses, and other stakeholders will be knowledgeable about the benefits of the online drivers' license renewal application and they will expect to continue being able to use it. Therefore, even if the application is not cost-effective or have other major problems, it would be very difficult for public mangers to abandon the initiative. At that point, only curves A and B are potential alternatives. For example, if they want to increase the use of the online application in a major way, they can use an aggressive marketing campaign to communicate effectively with the citizens as Moon and Welch (2004) suggest to do to ensure success in e-government implementation processes. If this campaign and other actions are successful, then the initiative may look like curve A. The evolution of a good online application without other managerial support (e.g., marketing) may look like curve B. Public managers should be aware of all this complexity and develop strategies according to their different options (including terminating the initiative) and the goals of the e-government applications. According to the theory presented in this paper, e-government is evolving toward more sophisticated and complex systems of rules and standards due to several mechanisms. Simultaneously, public managers looking for solutions to their problems and interests, and citizens and other stakeholders looking for better services and accountability mechanisms, will produce continuous pressures for the evolution of e-government definition and requirements, adding technological and organizational sophistication. This paper provides a useful theoretical model to understand the evolution of e-government and to identify some of the feedback mechanisms that create that evolutionary pattern. One question that remains is how to create e-government policies and standards that can be both solutions to what public managers consider problems and, at the same time, be responsive to citizens' actual needs. This paper proposes the desirability of a system of rules and standards for e-government initiatives that can accomplish both goals: solution guidance and behavior control. A truly useful e-government model should foster the alignment between these two dimensions that can be translated into effective and responsive e-government action.