The Effect and Efficacy of E-government administration

Amy Cooper (2011). The Effect and Efficacy of E-government administration PhD Thesis, School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies, The University of Queensland.

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Author Amy Cooper
Thesis Title The Effect and Efficacy of E-government administration
School, Centre or Institute School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-06
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Total pages 285
Total colour pages 35
Total black and white pages 250
Language eng
Subjects 16 Studies in Human Society
Abstract/Summary Determining the optimum form of administration is the ideal of public administration theory. This thesis begins by acknowledging the long-standing debate between public administration theorists over the best way for governments to organise and manage for successful outcomes. E-government administration is a more recent entrant into this debate. This thesis determines the effect and efficacy of e-government administration by pursuing answers to the following three research questions: 1: What causes divergence between traditional and e-government administration structures? 2: How has e-government administration affected traditional public administration? 3: Which e-government administration style produces the best e-government outcome? Asking what caused the divergence between virtual and traditional administration structures results in two conclusions. First, the OECD e-government administration classifications provide a very useful framework and classified each case study’s e-government administration to show if and how they differed from traditional public administration structures. Second, the formal and informal institutions at play in a given country are the single greatest influence on the development of its particular e-government administration style. Next, the effect of e-government administration on public administration was researched in the context of two leading theories on the subject. Fountain’s (2001; 2006) Technology Enactment Framework suggests how e-government could affect public administration (Fountain 2001; 2006). Dunleavy et al.’s (2005; 2006) Digital Era Governance suggests the effect of this change has been to move governance beyond New Public Management trends to a new era of digital governance. Case study data supports both theories. This thesis contributes significantly to and modifies Fountain’s work, which until now has been most often tested on US data. Having three additional countries reflect Fountain’s Framework greatly assists its usefulness as an explanatory tool to illustrate how technology (here, e-government) affects institutional structures (or public administration). This research also contributes to Dunleavy et al. Though their theory had been tested in each case study country, the level of analysis was particularly deep in this research and yet remains in support of their proposition. Collectively, this research provides a pool of evidence in support of each theory that is too significant to allow either to be considered as significantly flawed. To provide a mechanism in which both can be considered accurate, it is argued that Fountain’s TEF provides the logisitical framework through which Dunleavy et al.’s DEG is able to take root. This line of argument also contributes to the broader public administration literature. The two dominant theories provided by Fountain and Dunleavy have not previously been tested in conjunction with one another. The argument that each supports the other has provided an alternate explanation to the usual juxtaposition of the two as contrasting viewpoints. Lastly, asking which e-government administration produces the best e-government outcome was designed to advance the field of public administration by testing centralisation theory. The question was designed to assist in the debate over the best way to organise and manage for successful outcomes. Researching its answer followed a logical progression that demonstrates no significant flaw and in fact works hard to dispel any concerns on that front. It was found that centralised administrations did not produce better e-government outcomes on a municipal, national nor global scale. The overwhelming indication of these results is that there is no causal relationship between centralised administrations and good e-government outcomes. This is not an insignificant finding. The pursuit of excellence in public administration, however defined, remains a key concern in developed countries. The OECD is even now in “talks with the producers of the major global e-government surveys with a view to launching new e-government indicators that focus on public sector performance” (Hicks 2010). For countries seeking public administration excellence in their online application of e-government, these results demonstrate that organising and managing e-government administration in a centralised fashion has not produced top quality e-government outcomes. In sum, this research has made the effect and efficacy of e-government administration clear. The efficacy of e-government is not tied to the centrality of its administration and its effect, brought about by how civil servants use and perceive technology, has been to usher in a new era of digital governance.
Keyword Public administration.
E-government Administration
Additional Notes Colour pages: 85 95-97 99-101 130-133 135-137 158 162 172 174-186 279-284 Landscape pages: 60-61 208 213-214 264-284

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Created: Wed, 30 Nov 2011, 11:04:22 EST by Mrs Amy Cooper on behalf of Library - Information Access Service