E-Government Interoperability: Frameworks for Aligned Development

E-Government Interoperability: Frameworks for Aligned Development

Petter Gottschalk (Norwegian School of Management, Norway)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-713-3.ch002


The mobilization of electronic information across government organizations has the potential of modernizing and transforming information exchanges. The current information exchanges are, however, often inefficient and error-prone, causing interoperability problems for electronic government. Based on a literature review, this chapter presents some of the many frameworks for aligned development to improve e-government interoperability.
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1. Cross-Organizational Back-Office Integration

In electronic government, a distinction can be made between the front and back offices of public service delivery organizations. The interaction between citizens and civil servants occurs in the front office, while in the back office, the assessment of inquiries as well as the supporting registration activities take place. Back office activities normally require the exchange of information between the back offices of different agencies. However, back-office co-operation is found to be a serious problem (Bekkers, 2007).

Bekkers (2007) phrased the question: Given the political nature of back-office integration, should cross-organizational back-office integration be seen as a command and control challenge or a process of management challenge? He argues that comparative case study research has primarily shown that integration is the outcome of a process in which offices have been able to create a shared understanding about the necessity of integration and in which conflicting rationalities, with their own core values, internal logic and legitimacy, have to be weighed against each other. Integration is a goal-searching, incremental process, which should anticipate a changing political agenda in order to gain support.

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