E-government and E-governance local implementation of E-government policies in Sweden

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: It is recognized in international research that the public sector has been transformed into a networked, open and more flexible, informal and interactive governance structure. This is described as a transition from "government to governance". Sweden is one of the international leaders with regards to e-government development. The objective of this thesis is to provide a deeper understanding of how e-government policies are implemented in an e-governance context, through empirical case studies in Sweden. The focus is on the local level. The overall research question is: How is e-government policy put into practice when focusing on the local level? This is reported in four articles.Case study methodology is used as research method, including interviews, focus group interviews, document studies, and some participatory observations. The analysis is partly based on an inductive methodological approach, since this is a new, emerging field of innovative policy and practice.The analysis arrives at three overarching conclusions: (1) In practice, when e-government policy is implemented and translated at the local level, it tends to happen in an e-governance setting conducted by policy entrepreneurs or promoted by entrepreneurial behaviour in public administration. E-government policies are implemented in relation to local cultures, norms and economic structures. (2) Implementation of e-government and e-governance initiatives requires trust in the service provision among public administrators as well as among citizens. Efficiency and citizen-centred approaches in the redesign of information relationships between public administration and citizens to create some sort of added value are crucial. (3) The thesis indicates that there are two main implications of municipal contact centres (CCs): they localize public services and they combine different services into a one-stop practice striving to provide "holistic" services to the individual citizen. However, although the use of ICT is essential for the organisational transformation, the results indicate that the organisational settings and internal anchoring are greater constraints than new technology for implementation of local e-government and e-governance initiatives in the form of contact centres. One example for potential added value is the source of information of citizens' issues through the implementation of municipal contact centres, which may have a positive impact on the conditions for local planning.

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