000 Editorial Dec 13.pdf pp181‑182
Virtual Acts of Balance!: Virtual Technologies of Knowledge‑Management as co‑Produced by Social Intentions and Technical Limitations pp183‑197
Abstract: This paper presents an analysis of official documents and white papers pertaining to two web‑portals (The Policy Grid Project and FEED) that are launched in the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) respectively. The aim of the p ortals is to filter and synthesize information relevant for policy discussions and thereby improve ´knowledge‑democracy´ in different ways. The paper denotes such portals ´virtual technologies of knowledge management´ and it presents documental data as a window to analyze and discuss the infrastructural choices of such portals. The analysis is grounded in theories related to Social Construction of Technology and it shows how the framing of the portals and the concrete digital choices taken in relation t o the infrastructure are influenced by the intentions of relevant social groups as well as by the technical limitations on computers abilities to process semantic data. It is especially emphasized how technical web‑ontologies implicitly carry with them d eeper philosophical ontologies about phenomena such as ´politics´, ´scientific intentionality´ and ´freedom´. The compromise between these technical limitations and the social intentions is described as a ´virtual act of balance´. The paper accordingly co ncludes that a co‑production of technical infrastructures and social values takes place in the process of designing these types of portals. It illustrates the necessity of formalizing part of the policy‑making process if semantic machines are to play a si gnificant role in policy‑making. Computer‑based information‑processing makes software increasingly powerful and it is argued that the ´e‑governance community´ has to be reflective about this development and constantly consider the trade‑offs between struc tured semantics and looser types of classification of policy issues.
Keywords: Keywords: e-governance, knowledge-democracy, socio-semantic web, social construction of technology, discourse analysis
Challenging Organizational Issues When Municipal Contact Centers are Implemented in Sweden pp198‑209
Abstract: Two case studies of the implementation of Contact Centers (CCs) in Swedish municipalities are compared and discussed from an organizational perspective. The research method was semi‑structured qualitative interviews with different personnel c ategories in both municipalities. Several challenging organizational issues for management and employees were identified. The implementation strategies varied between the cases and affected the pace of implementation, attitudes and motivation, the menta l constructs and understanding of the implementation. The financing of the CCs and recruitment strategies created problems, but in somewhat different ways and different phases of the process in each case. The potential of using registered information as a source for planning and decision‑making was not fully utilized in the municipal organizations, although some statistics were produced. In both cases there was a combination of formal and informal learning strategies and flexible co‑operation among the employees in the CCs which contributed to continuous learning processes and a good, co‑operative working climate. There was a need for continuous updating of skills in both cases, but with slightly different focus, related to the organization of the wor k. The organization in response groups required more specialist competence, compared with the organization without response groups, which required more general competence. Two challenges for the case administrators in the back offices were to adapt to a more process‑oriented organization of their work and to co‑operate more with their colleagues both in the back office and at the CC. They now had the possibility to plan their administrative work in a better way than before, but some administrators miss ed the previous spontaneous contacts with citizens. Initially, many case administrators were afraid of losing their jobs and work tasks to CCs, contributing to negative attitudes towards CC and hampering the learning process in taking part in the impleme ntation process.
Keywords: Keywords: Contact Centers, New Public Management, implementation, e-government, municipalities, MOA model
Abstract: The Public Distribution System (PDS) plays a significant role in the Indian governments poverty alleviation programmes and discharging its social development obligations by providing food grains and essential items to the rural and urban poor at subsidized rates. While the social objective is of protecting poor citizens from the vagaries of market forces, the PDS current system has several well documented problems such as lack of transparency, accountability, poor governance and poor service delivery mechanisms. Several suggestions have been made for improvement through technology intervention. In this paper we describe a mobile technology enabled system that we have developed. We have conducted a sample survey across urban slums to elicit r esponses about the existing PDS, to understand the problems faced by users and to obtain input on the features and functionality required to improve the PDS system. This questionnaire was designed and administered as a mobile form. The SmartPDS solution t hat has been developed uses low‑cost mobile technologies and a workflows‑based request tracking system to enable the delivery of critical governance services such as food entitlements, at the doorstep of the citizen. The system leverages the expanding cel lular network to enable a consumer to place an order on a mobile phone and the entire process of PDS service delivery can be monitored and tracked in near real‑time. An electronic voucher scheme has been developed to implement a cashless benefits transfer system to reduce leakages in the system and improve tracking of a PDS transaction from the generation of a consumer request to the delivery of food items to the consumer.
Abstract: Whilst online social networking has been used successfully for many years by all strata of the worlds population, its use to ferment and prevent civil disturbances is a relatively new phenomenon. It is clear that the way in which online social networking sites are being used is evolving, and that changing user perceptions of online privacy may impact on the ability of the law enforcement community to adapt to new methods of monitoring and evidence gathering. This paper focuses primarily on the London riots of August 2011, and as such discusses legal issues from a UK perspective. However, the matters discussed are of relevance worldwide, with reference made to similar events outside the UK, to show that what occurred in London was not an isolate d incident, or a quirk of the UK social networking scene. This paper explores what occurred, the platforms that were used and how they were used, and the legal framework in which investigations took place. It examines the use of social networking to organ ise rioters, support community defence, and shape the response of law enforcement agencies such as the police, government and the courts. It concludes that there is significant potential for problems of this type to occur in the future, which will require the evolution of law enforcement methods and procedures, and could change the way in which the law enforcement community utilise e‑Government systems
Public‑Sector Reform, E‑Government and the Search for Excellence in Africa: Experiences from Uganda pp240‑251
Abstract. The traditional portrait of many governments worldwide, synonymous with a massive bureaucratic machinery operating inefficiently, unresponsively and at high cost, is gradually fading. Over the past two or so decades, Sub‑Saharan African countrie s, have witnessed wide‑ranging public‑sector reforms often in search of effective and efficient systems of government. One such reform came in the form of ICT. Driven by the belief that e‑government is one of the key motors to achieve significant leaps ne eded for reform, governments are taking wide‑ranging initiatives to work better. This paper aimed at examining trends in public‑sector reform that lead to contemporary e‑government practice, highlighting experiences from an African country. Using the case study approach, the paper presents a historiographical analysis of public‑sector reforms in Africa, and the role of ICTs in Ugandas quest for efficient and effective systems of administration.
Challenges to the Successful Implementation of e‑Government Initiatives in Sub‑Saharan Africa: A Literature Review pp252‑266
Abstract: With the dawn of the technological age due to the wide spread of information and communication technologies (ICTs), e‑government is fast becoming of prime importance. This has prompted many governments (those of Sub‑Saharan African ‑ SSA incl uded) to start thinking of going digital. This growing importance stems from the fact that e‑government has the capability of promoting better governance, transparency, raising service performance and eliminating bottlenecks in the service delivery proce ss. This paper is based on a literature review of the papers and documents relating to e‑government and investigates the challenges to the successful implementation of e‑government initiatives in all the 49 African countries in SSA for the period 2001 to 2012. In order to conduct a systematic review the guidelines suggested by Webster and Watson (2002) and Okoli and Schabram (2010) have been followed. In total 75 relevant articles and documents have been examined all of which have been published in le ading journals, conferences proceedings, reports from governmental and non‑governmental organizations. The results show that ICT infrastructure, human resources, legal framework, Internet access, the digital divide, and connectivity are among the most com mon themes on the challenges to the successful implementation of e‑government initiatives in Sub‑Saharan African countries. These themes are further grouped into six different aspects abbreviated as IF‑POSH (Infrastructural, financial, political, organis ational, socio‑economic and human). Among these six aspects, infrastructural and human aspects are the most important challenges that the respective governments in SSA need to address prior to adopting implementation strategies. The study suggests that g overnments of the Sub‑Saharan African countries can benefit from the advantages of e‑government if they address these challenges collectively allowing for the sensitivity of certain socio‑economic realities.
Keywords: Keywords: ICTs, e-government, Sub-Saharan Africa, e-government Challenges, e-government implementation
Abstract: This paper presents an analysis for level of e‑government implementation in the context of a developing country. The purpose of the study was to understand the level of e‑government implementation in Malawi focusing on examining websites for gov ernment ministries and departments. Quantitative and partly qualitative data was used to analyse seven websites for government ministries and departments. The results were compared with indicators for e‑government implementation from international develop ment agencies. The findings confirmed that the level of e‑government implementation was in the early stages of presence and interaction. Additionally, the results showed slow growth in e‑government implementation because of limited integration of public s ervices. The study provides insights that may be useful in improving the implementation of e‑government.
Abstract: This paper proposes, in the context of Open Government, a model to assess how public sector entities are taking advantage of the Internet as an information disclosure tool and a means to promote transparency, specifically in what concerns the us e of public resources (input transparency for accountability). The assessment model and resulting Transparency Index gives particular attention to the disclosure of detailed (disaggregated) data according to the principles of Open Government Data, nam ely by valuing data visibility, adequate format for further processing, and the autonomous presentation of individual information items. Subsequently, the paper demonstrates the applicability of the proposed model by carrying out two assessment exercises on two subsets of Portuguese and Italian municipalities. Results show that, all in all, the municipalities analysed do not yet disclose enough information useful for accountability processes and they do not take advantage of the Internet potential to make the data provided more visible and re‑usable by citizens and local stakeholders. Alone, high‑level policy directives, governmental requirements and national legislation guaranteeing access to information are not enough to ensure public entities (municip alities in particular) disclose all the relevant data, and therefore specific guidelines are needed.
Conceptualization of an integrated indicator model for the evaluation of e‑government policies pp292‑306
Following the initial success of the information and communication technology‑enabled changes in the public sector, the concept of e‑government was expected to provide a leap forward, facilitating the comprehensive reform of public administration operatio ns and redefinition of service delivery to citizens. Despite the significant advancement in the last decade or so, the contribution of e‑government in achieving the increased acceptance of online government services, cost reduction and greater effectivene ss of public administration has remained rather ambiguous and undetermined. All these facts suggest that current planning, development and implementation of e‑government policies is unsatisfactory, whereas lacking reliable indicator models consequently re sults in arbitrary evaluation and uninformed decision‑making in the e‑government field. Paper presents an analysis of existing indicator models for evaluation of e‑government policies, identifies characteristic evaluation aspects and evaluation levels, an d conceptualizes an integrated indicator model for evaluation of e‑government policies. Analysis offers an insight into the current evaluation practice, enables detection of its deficiencies and provides a valuable contribution to the development of appli cable indicator models facilitating more evidence‑based evaluation of e‑government policies. .
Keywords: Key words: E-government policies, evaluation, evaluation aspects, evaluation levels, integrated indicator model.
Abstract. Public procurement constitutes a large part of the market in many countries, and it has the potential of playing an important role in stimulating communities and serving policy goals. With this in mind the governments have set regulations for pu blic procurement. Procurement of Information Systems is especially challenging due to the complexity of procuring unknown technology and the importance an information system has for different stakeholders in an organization. Public procurement of informat ion systems (IS) and services provides several challenges to the stakeholders involved in the procurement processes. However, these are not well established or understood, and there is a knowledge gap that needs to be covered. This paper presents result s from a Delphi study, which involved 46 experienced procurement managers, chief information officers, and vendor representatives in the Norwegian public sector. The participants identified 98 challenges related to IS procurement, and subsequently ranked the relative importance of the top issues. The study supports findings from previous research related to diverging stakeholder goals; challenges in balancing between objectives; in requirement specifications; and in too narrow cost focus. In addition to p roviding empirical confirmation of these previous propositions the study revealed new findings, such as benefits realization in IS procurement; coordinating and standardizing public procurement processes; complex and constraining government regulations; i ssues of technological integration and compatibility; and inter‑municipal cooperation. Developing clear requirements specifications stands out as critical for public sector officials. The results provide a rich overview of IS procurement challenges in the public sector in Norway, and may also give a good picture of challenges in other countries with similar procurement regulations.
Keywords: Keywords: Public procurement, procurement of information systems, procurement challenges, stakeholder challenges, Delphi study