Smartphone-Based Digital Government Model: The Case of the Beyaz Masa (White Table) App in Turkey

Smartphone-Based Digital Government Model: The Case of the Beyaz Masa (White Table) App in Turkey

Ronan de Kervenoael, Egemen Sekeralp
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9461-3.ch032
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M-Government services are now at the forefront of both user expectations and technology capabilities. Within the current setting, there is growing evidence that interoperability is becoming a key issue towards service sustainability. Thus, the objective of this chapter is to highlight the case of “Beyas Masa” – a Turkish application for infrastructure repair services. This application requires different stakeholders from different cultural background and geographically dispersed regions to work together. The major aim of this chapter to showcase experiences in as far as implementation and adoption of m-Government is concerned in the case of Turkey. The study utilizes the co-creation literature to investigate the factors influencing successful implementation of the Beyas Masa. This study reveals that initiatives are fragmented due to differences in the characteristics of the targeted audience, the marketing strategy, technology supply, distribution, and media utilized to promote its awareness. The chapter posits that in order to have affluent m-Government implementation in Turkey, it is important that many of the standalone applications are integrated to encourage interoperability and that socio-cultural behaviours should be re-shaped to encourage active engagement and interactive government service provisions that unlock the power of ICT.
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In the last few years, a shift has occurred both in the public and private sector towards an entrepreneurial approach that emphasises a change from service management to service competence (Cova et al, 2011; Schilling, 2010). As stated by Cordella (2007: 265), ‘the dominant literature has seen e-Government as a next step in the rationalization of government activities along the line of new public management’. In turn, m-Government is often presented as a reflection of the evolution in Information Communication Technology (ICT) from desktop to wireless devices that echoed the changes from Web 1.0 that represented an early non-interactive version of the Internet whereby users could only view WebPages, simply acting as consumers of content. Today, with Web 2.0 (and the emerging Web 3.0), users interact and collaborate with each other as well as brands through media including videos, audio and photos. In a wireless world, a series of technological artefacts (Smartphones, tablets, and netbooks) allows access and feedback in real time (the ubiquity and pervasiveness of mobile devices) in addition to leveraging new tools such as digital cameras, GPS and mapping. Yet, new radical logics, challenges and opportunities may force a total reshaping of the understanding of e-Government in practice. Through an unpacking of detailed and often practical issues, m-Government is encouraging a move from macro issues such as democracy and access to micro practical voicing to what once was local governments’ competence area. M-Government is also becoming more fully interactive with citizens pushing information towards government agencies and requesting actions rather than the one way information flow (from e-Government officials), which often requests citizens to take certain actions. Organizational boundaries are thus being contested both by local civil servants (they need access to these new ICT tools, training and authority to use them) and citizens now re-shaping the order of priority and revealing the evolution of their preferences by constantly re-voting.

Simultaneously, a key difference in the environment is appearing as citizens, who may have once been perceived as homogenous, now come into light as fragmented in their day-to-day needs. These individuals are revealing their wants, needs and more importantly, priorities. The concept of m-Government, in sum, is thus moving government from an ideological macro position to a localised producer of services. This is especially important in emerging market conditions where budget constraints are strong and technologies often leapfrog traditional cycles (greater usage of wireless devices than traditional PCs). Thus, emancipated civil servants and citizens, since the emergence of new public management, take the functional performance of a service for granted and expect far more than simple consumption of government services (De Kervenoael et al, 2010; De Kervenoael & Koçoğlu, 2011). First, a knowledge sharing potential has been identified that can develop both new management innovations models and technologies for digital government. Knowledge sharing potential consists of the creative combination of individuals and collective knowledge transfer (co-creation) (Thompson & Malaviya, 2012; Gronroos, 2011; Payne et al, 2008, Zwick et al, 2008, Cova and Dalli, 2009). Second, the Smartphone as a technological artefact and social media tool can be leveraged to enable broad real time participation in public policy making as well as delivery. While traditional town hall meetings, radio call-in and surveys have shaped the policy conceptualization, Smartphone and social media add a set of new, instant and dynamic (augmented reality, 3D imaging) dimension with easy access for all via apps (DePriest, 2012; Connolly et al, 2010; Yonck, 2008; Gervautz & Schmalstieg, 2012). Consequently, interoperability design choices tacitly embedded in a technology will have an important impact and will encourage or deter citizen engagement and behaviour (Fisher and Smith, 2011). It is also important at this point to note that Turkey, like many other countries, is desperate to make budget ends meet. Currently, the universally accepted ‘quick fix’ seems to be across the board 5%, 10% or even 25% funding cuts. However, it is reasonable to expect that citizens and business are unwilling to accept drastic reductions to public services and that politicians dislike compromising key public outcomes – ‘social goods’ such as better health, education and care; hence, the leveraging of the Smartphone.

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