Electronic Government Strategies and Research in the U.S.

Electronic Government Strategies and Research in the U.S.

Charles C. Hinnant (The University of Georgia, USA) and Steve Sawyer (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-553-5.ch179
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Abstract

Since the mid-1990s, adoption of wide-area computer networks, such as the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW), by the public, educational institutions and private sector organizations has helped spur an interest in using these new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as a means to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of organizational processes. Private sector firms have focused on using Internet-based technologies, especially the browser-based technologies of the WWW, as a means to conduct business transactions. The use of such electronic transmission technologies in carrying out business activities has generally been dubbed electronic commerce, or e-commerce (Schneider, 2003). Attempts to reinvent public organizations in the United States during the 1990s were heavily grounded in the belief that the adoption of new forms of ICT will streamline both service generation and delivery (Osborne & Gaebler, 1993; Gore, 1993). Some government actors and observers, such as the National Science Foundation, have more recently referred to the overall use of ICT to carry out the activities of government institutions as digital government. The term digital government has in many respects grown to refer to the development, adoption or use of ICT as a key component of a public organization’s internal information and control systems, as well as any use of ICT to facilitate interaction with external stakeholders. Some scholars have attempted to examine how governments have used ICT systems, such as the Internet and WWW, as a means to facilitate interactions with citizens and other stakeholders in an attempt to foster democratic processes via electronic media. These activities have been called electronic democracy, or e-democracy. This broad concept is then usually subdivided into two subsets of activities, electronic politics and electronic government. Electronic politics, or e-politics, centers on activities that facilitate civic awareness of political processes, as well as the ability of citizens to participate in those processes. Electronic government, or e-government, includes the use of ICT by government agencies to provide programmatic information and services to citizens and other stakeholders (Watson & Mundy, 2001).

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