Sustainable eGovernance

University dissertation from Örebro : Örebro university

Abstract: 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.