Democratic E-Governance

Democratic E-Governance

Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch158
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The changing role of the state and a managerialist view of the operations of public sector organizations gave rise to the idea of new public governance. Gradually more citizencentered views of governance also emerged, reflecting a need to strengthen the role of citizens and communities in governance processes at different institutional levels. This development, especially since the mid-1990’s, has been affected by new technologies, leading to a kind of coevolution of institutional arrangements and technological solutions that have paved the way for a better understanding of the potentials of democratic e-governance.
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Definition Of Governance

One of the reasons behind the revival of the concept of governance was the need to distinguish between the traditional, institutionally oriented conception of “government” and more dynamic and network-based ways of thinking and working in policy processes. Thus, government refers to the institutions and agents that perform the governmental functions, that is, to formal institutions of the state or those of decentralized territorial governments and their ability to make decisions and take care of their implementation, whereas governance is about the new modes and manner of governing within policy networks and partnership-based relations (Jessop, 1998; Kooiman, 1993; Pierre & Peters, 2000; Stoker, 1998).

The way the concept of governance is used here can be specified as “public governance”, which aims to pursue collective interest in the context of intersectoral stakeholder relations. In this sense, governance refers to the coordination and the use of various forms of formal or informal types of nonhierarchically organized interaction and institutional arrangements in the policy-making, development and service processes to pursue collective interest (Anttiroiko, 2004).

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Governance: In the public sector context governance refers to coordination, interaction, and institutional arrangements which are needed to pursue collective interest in policy-making, development and service processes in the context of nonhierarchically organized stakeholder relations. Electronic governance or e-governance is technologically mediated communication, coordination, and interaction in governance processes.

E-Government: Electronic government (e-government) is government’s use of information and communication technologies, particularly Web-based applications, to support responsive and cost-effective government by facilitating administrative and managerial functions, providing citizens and stakeholders with convenient access to government information and services, facilitating interaction and transactions with stakeholders, and providing better opportunities to participate in democratic institutions and processes.

Network Democracy: Innovative application of the principles of democracy in the nonhierarchical network-based public governance.

Informatization: The unprecedented growth in the speed and quantity of information production and distribution and the increased role of ICT-assisted knowledge processes, systems, and networks in society.

U-Democracy: Ubiquitous democracy (u-democracy) refers to new forms of democracy in which ubiquitous technologies are utilized.

Network: Networks are loose sets of actors who work together in order to promote their interests within a common operational framework, which is held together by some shared interests, reciprocity, and trust. In their most characteristic form networks are flexible ways of organizing activities that require competences of several independent actors.

E-Democracy: Electronic democracy (e-democracy) as a tool-oriented conception of democracy refers to new democratic practices in which ICTs and innovative institutional arrangements are utilized (cf. teledemocracy).

New Public Management (NPM): Neo-liberally oriented public management doctrine based on a market-oriented view stating that, instead of direct political control and hierarchies, public organizations should rely on indirect control—that is, market-based coordination—in the interaction between public organizations and their environments. It emphasizes the efficiency and effectiveness of public organizations, customer focus in provision of public services, and market-based conditioning frameworks, such as privatization, competition, and contracting out.

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