Norris E Government 2020 Essay

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Pages: 7

Donald

F.

Norris

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

E-Government 2020: Plus ga change, plus c'est la meme chose

Part lll: Public

0rganizations of the Future

Donald

F.

Norris

is a professor and cha

r

man of the Department of Pub c P0 cy at

the llnive6ity 0f [4ary and,

Ba

t more foun

ty, and a specialist in urban af{a]tr,

management,

ir

p!blic

and nformation technology

qovernmef t (includirg e-government).

N s works have been published

in many of

the major journals n these f elds.

E-mail: rotris@umbc.edu

or about the past 15 years, governmenrs across th.. globe have been delirrering informarion and services, providing rransactions, and enabling interactions berween the governed and their govern-

T-!
I
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ments electronically. For the mosr parr, they do so through o{ilcial governmental sires on the World
\7ide Web. This has become known as electronic governm€nt, or e-government. Today, e-government is ubiquitous. Although no single definition exists, a consensus of sorts has developed around the basic understanding of e-government as the prouision of gouernmental information and seruices elecnonically 24 hours per c{ay, 7 days per week (see, e.g., Holden, Norris, and Fletcher
2003). Some view e-government more broadly and ascribe normative elements to it (e.g., governmental

reform). Yet the foregoing definition caprures the descriptive essence of e-governmgnl-1h6 availability of governmental information and services by electronic means (usually the Web), without restricrion as to place and time.
Some conflate e-government with its antecedent,

citizens, businesses, and governments, respectively), meaning the provision of information and services primarily to external stakeholders. Although governments may have multiple morives when implementing e-government, the motive that leads all is electronic access (online versus in line) by external parries ro governmental information and services.

When it first came on the scene, e,government was cause for great optimism and a fair amounr of hyperbole, especially about its potential impacts. Indeed, many early e-government writings predicted simply incredible outcomes from e-government (see Garson
2004 for a rendition of predicted impacts). After claims that e-governmenr would promore grearer efficiency and effectiveness came predictions that it would produce citizen-centric government. The most extreme of the early claims was that e-government would produce e-democracy and e-transformation,
\7ith regard to e-democracy, much of the early literature stressed citizen participation in a wide range of governmental activities (including decision making) and e-voting and argued that e-democracy would follow "naturally" from e-governmenr. The general idea about e-transformation was that e-government
(r:sually in concert with e-democracy) would change in highly positive ways rhe very relations benveen citizens and their governmenrs ro essentially "fix"

information technology (IT) in gov€rnmenr. Although e-government is an lT-based phenomenon, the nvo are quite different. taditional IT in government is inward looking and addresses mainly internal governmental applications-mundane and not so mundane dysfunctional governmenr and broken democracy, things such as basic record keeping; managing large databases; billing, accountTo date, a considerable amounr ing, and payroll; 911 and 311 of empirical research has been systemsi CIS applicarions in lE] -government is outward conducted on e-government, planning; word processing; and many more applications that essentially support the internal operations of public organizations.
Conversely. e-governmenr is ourward looking and characterizedby terms such as G2C,
G2B, and G2G (governmenr to

S180 PublicAdministration Review

.

December 2010

.

looking and characterized by terms such as G2C, G2B, and
C2G (governmenr ro citizens, businesses, and gor.ernments,

respectively), meaning the provision of information and…