E-Participation and Citizen Relationship Management in Urban Governance: Tools and Methods

E-Participation and Citizen Relationship Management in Urban Governance: Tools and Methods

Jim P. Huebner (University of Waterloo, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8358-7.ch002
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Abstract

Citizen relationship management (CiRM) is a combination of management approaches and information technologies for improving citizen services and citizen participation used at all levels of government. As an adaptation of private sector customer relationship management (CRM), CiRM is experiencing significant public sector adoption rates globally. However, while private sector CRM has demonstrated significant impact in the private sector, CiRM benefits are limited, and particularly lagging in the area of citizen e-participation in urban governance. This chapter provides an overview of the scope of CiRM functionality, with particular regard to the CRM origins and CiRM extensibilities, to develop a broader perspective of CiRM's capacity for addressing e-participation. Developing this perspective further, theoretical and methodological approaches to e-participation are presented and evaluated in four categories: generic CiRM participation models, e-government CiRM, democratic CiRM, and strategic CiRM. Further research opportunities are highlighted within the context of emerging organizational, technological, and societal trends.
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Background

CiRM is described as a strategy that enables a technological focus on citizens’ needs and encourages citizen participation (Reddick, 2010). Giving meaning to such a broad definition requires an examination of the background of CiRM, particularly its origins and growth in the private sector. To be clear, this chapter shall consistently distinguish between CRM as private sector customer relationship management and CiRM as public sector citizen relationship management, and CRM/CiRM where concepts apply equally to both private and public sector. Although CRM is now a powerful tool in business, it has taken a decade of trial and error to realize CRM’s potential. Government has not yet arrived at a strategic understanding of how to apply CiRM effectively and maximize citizen participation. Therefore an examination of CRM is appropriate and necessary to developing a more complete understanding of the power, potential, and pitfalls of CiRM. This examination will include an overview of CRM as a strategy and management approach, CRM technological extensibility, and current trends that are significantly broadening CRM applicability in the private sector including cloud services, the expanding CRM ecosystem, and social CRM. This overview of CRM will form the basis for the examination of CiRM applications and e-participation capabilities.

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