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Journal Article

Oxygen Government Practices  pp177-190

Mary Griffiths

© Jan 2008 Volume 5 Issue 2, ECEG 2007, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp95 - 224

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How well are government intranets modelling the participatory protocols needed to develop the skills for effective government‑citizen engagement? Does the inclusion of social media forms and user‑generated content (chat, collaboration work, content sharing) add or detract value from the interactive online space at work? This paper presents work on a small Australian case study drawn from a comparative study of e‑participation projects within government in Australia and New Zealand. This paper focuses on the development of, and everyday practices in, a password‑only, subscription‑based intranet Oxygen, which has been operating since December 2006 in the South Australian public service. Specially developed through funding gained in an internally‑competitive round, Oxygen is designed by, and for, a specific demographic of young media‑savvy professionals. The research includes initial interviews with managers, intranet peer‑managers, online observation of the 'virtual village' conducted at periods throughout 2007, data collected from Oxygen's external site‑builders, and an analysis of logins and page hits. A user‑questionnaire was emailed to selfselecting Oxygen subscribers. In its use of dedicated pages and protocols for social networking, the government intranet demonstrates that, in targeted demographics, the peer‑management of online space can further develop existing professional behaviours, and encourage new collaborative ones which have the potential to be transformative of peer and manager attitudes to leadership, cooperation and the reinvention of organisational behaviour within the service. The research also assesses the popular features of the intranet's design, and the most successful peer‑practices, in order to gauge their potential transferability to e‑participation protocols and projects in interactive citizen‑government domains.


Keywords: peer-managed intranets, e-participation, UGC, transferability, civic domains, online protocols, virtual village


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