eGovernance2.0: Implications of Social Computing on Public Services

eGovernance2.0: Implications of Social Computing on Public Services

Gianluca Misuraca (European Commission & Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0071-3.ch007
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This chapter discusses the results of exploratory research conducted by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, which aims to collect and analyse evidence and to assess the significance of the impact of social computing (also known as Web2.0) on public services in order to better understand its implications for governance. After introducing the rise of the social computing phenomenon and its trends in the public sector, which are of crucial importance to both government-citizen relations and organizational and institutional aspects of government (what is referred to as governance), the chapter argues that the emerging wave of openness—that is implicit in social computing-enabled applications—could lead to a new phase for eGovernance. The chapter also explains that social computing has multiple areas of potential impact on governance which need further systematization, in both conceptual and methodological terms. Social computing has a potentially disruptive impact on government-citizens relations, on public sector organizational and institutional design, and the way public services are created and delivered. There are also signs that there will be fundamental shifts in the relation between government and citizens that could result in new ways of “public value creation,” which are worth further investigation. Social computing can play an important role in the innovation process in the public sector by supporting profound transformations which would allow citizens to take an active part in policy-making processes. Social computing applications can promote the modernisation of existing governmental functions by supporting the optimization of back office procedures, by streamlining and consolidating information flows, and by exploiting knowledge sharing mechanisms for administrative purposes. Finally, the chapter discusses the key findings and provides conclusions and future policy and research indications. Social computing’s multiple impacts on governance need to be further documented in order to fully understand in which areas of the policy cycle it can play a role and in which not. To make it an effective part of governance systems and society at large the best way to embed it in public sector strategies and policy making mechanisms needs to be determined.
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this chapter are purely those of the author and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission.

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