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Sustainable eGovernance?: decision making, coordination and continuity in Swedish eGov practice
Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6373-7793
Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3713-346X
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The use of ICTs in the public sector, eGovernment, is increasingly understood as a complex phenomenon intricately embedded in a continuously changing environment including multiple actors, rather referred to as eGovernance. A need for research that is “future oriented” has been identified, and previous research has suggested a sustainability perspective. Research employing the sustainability concept has increased recently but is still a fledgling research area without a common focus or use of the concept. There is a lack of research with a thorough basis in sustainability theory and a need for empirically founded theoretical development regarding sustainable eGovernance. Hence, the research question of this paper is, How can current eGovernance practice be interpreted from a sustainability perspective? A case study is performed in the context of Swedish eGovernance practice, at national and municipal level. Inductive interviews are used to investigate practitioners’ views. Thereafter we test a framework of eGovernance sustainability, developed based on the eGovernance literature, against the views of the practitioners. We find that sustainability in eGovernance is most prominently related with decision making and coordination related to infrastructure, as actors struggle with achieving continuity and implementing a holistic view of the use of ICT in the public sector. We also find that eGovernance research, while still shallow, has a focus that corresponds well to the issues that practitioners find most crucial for the future. Hence, the results provide a consolidated framework of eGovernance sustainability issues, both theoretically and empirically informed. 

Keywords [en]
eGovernance, eGov, Sustainability, EGOV4SD, Case study, Governance, Decision making, Infrastructure
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
Informatics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-35332OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-35332DiVA, id: diva2:723872
Available from: 2014-06-11 Created: 2014-06-11 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Sustainable eGovernance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainable eGovernance
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses on eGovernance – the use of ICT as a means to improve public sector practice. Previous research has shown that there is a lack of long-term discussion on the purposes and directions of eGovernance development, often outlining it as unequivocally positive, while missing to consider the complexities and conflicts involved in this process. In order to understand the complexities of eGovernance a future-oriented perspective is needed. In other words a perspective that not only focuses on using ICT to be responsive to present needs but also making it possible to discuss which goals public sector ICT initiatives should strive for and how these correspond to goals and means in the public sector as a whole. In order to do this I employ a sustainability perspective.

The aim of this thesis is to understand how eGovernance can be sustainable in such a complex organizational environment. This is approached in four papers; based on two case studies, situated in the public sector of Sweden, and a structured literature review of the use of the sustainability concept in eGovernance research.

The findings of this thesis include a framework of sustainable eGovernance, including an outline of the different dimensions of sustainability: social, economic, environmental and technical. These dimensions are seen as carriers of different values and goals which are in a process of continuous dialogue and conflict. Cutting across these four dimensions are two themes: decision making and information infrastructure, which make up the backbone of how ICT can be used in order to improve public practice. The theoretical lens of sustainability widens our understanding and helps in the questioning of motivations, directions and implications of eGovernance initiatives. This thesis thus contributes with a theoretically and empirically founded framework, which is suitable as a foundation for sustainable eGovernance development and further research into that area.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university, 2014. p. 130
Series
Örebro Studies in Informatics ; 7
Keywords
egovernance, public sector ict, sustainability, complexity, dialogue of values
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Informatics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-35174 (URN)978-91-7529-028-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-09-11, Hörsalen, Musikhögskolan, Örebro universitet, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-05-27 Created: 2014-05-27 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved

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Larsson, HannuGrönlund, Åke

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