E-government and e-governance : Swedish case studies with focus on the local level

Abstract: The concepts of e-government and e-governance are used interchangeably in most research and there is no single definition of these terms. The objective of this licentiate thesis is to provide a deeper understanding of these concepts through empirical studies in a Swedish context. Further, it aims to analyse whether – and if so in what way – the implementation of local contact centres (CC) affect conditions for local planning. This is reported in three articles. In this thesis e-government is defined to as the use of tools and systems by governmental bodies made possible by ICT that affect the organization of public administration. E-governance is defined as the ICT-based networks of services and administration in New Public Management settings including both public and private actors. Case study methodology is used as research method, including interviews, focus group studies, document studies, and some participatory observations. The analysis is partly built on an inductive methodological approach, since this is a new, emerging field of innovative policy and practice. Based on a theoretical discussion of New Public Management in the digital era, findings show that there is a difference between the concepts of e-government and e-governance from the perspective of e-administration and e-services and that the terms should not be used interchangeably. The study indicates that there are examples of implementation that are referred to the e-governance setting. Further the study indicates that local municipal contact centres may be referred to not only as an implementation of e-government but as a combination of e-governance and e-government. The findings indicate that there is a potential for positive impact on the conditions for local planning through the implementation of municipal contact centres.