The Organizatonal Culture of Digital Government: Technology, Accountability & Shared Governance

The Organizatonal Culture of Digital Government: Technology, Accountability & Shared Governance

Barbara Allen (University of Ottawa, Canada), Luc Juillet (University of Ottawa, Canada), Mike Miles (University of Ottawa, Canada), Gilles Paquet (University of Ottawa, Canada), Jeffrey Roy (University of Ottawa, Canada) and Kevin Wilkins (University of Ottawa, Canada)
Copyright: © 2004 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-122-3.ch006
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Abstract

This chapter examines the characteristics of government organizations that influence their capacity to employ information technology (IT) in a strategic manner such that it assists them in their quest to meet governance challenges. We explore the organizational factors, architectural and cultural, that impede large government departments from moving beyond the adoption of IT as a mere instrument that assists the execution of routine tasks in the traditional way and move into new forms of governance that alter the relationships between individuals and units within the organization and between the organization and its external environment. Our objective is to provide a useful framework for the analysis of the barriers to, and potential catalysts of, an IT mediated transformation of the governance of large government departments. Our insights are based on explorations of the issues surrounding the development of new governance models for data and informatics management within Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the federal department with a leading role in a wide range of activities relating to Canada’s marine environment. As one of the world’s leading marine science institutions, this case underscores the fact that technical competence alone is insufficient to facilitate a shift towards digital government. Using IT strategically is a governance challenge that is contingent upon organizational structure and culture. Science and engineering produce ‘know-how’; but ‘know-how’ is nothing by itself; it is a means without an end, a mere potentiality, an unfinished sentence. ‘Know-how’ is no more a culture than a piano is music. E.F. Schumacher

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