The Electronic Journal of e-Government aims to publish perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of e-Government
Click here to see other Scholarly Electronic Journals published by API
For a range of research text books on this and complimentary topics visit the Academic Bookshop

Information about the European Conference on e-Government is available here

To join the EJEG review committee click here
 

Journal Article

eGovernment Implementation and TQM Adoption: An Empirical Study in the Portuguese Municipalities  pp58-67

Patrícia Moura e Sá

© Sep 2011 Volume 9 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 92

Look inside Download PDF (free)

Abstract

The paper investigates the potential link between eGovernment implementation and TQM adoption in the Local Government context. Although most research studies point out the importance of adopting citizen‑oriented organisational practices to successfully implement eGovernment initiatives, the present study is original in specifically investigating the role that TQM may have in driving eGovernment adoption. From a theoretical standpoint, not only do eGovernment and TQM pursue some identical purposes, but they also share an important set of core concepts and principles, a fact which suggests a reinforcing link between these two approaches. This potential link was investigated by means of a questionnaire survey, complemented with the analysis of the institutional web pages of the 308 municipalities existing in Portugal. The findings reveal that municipalities where eGovernment initiatives are more mature are simultaneously those that implement TQM. ‘Soft’ elements of TQM are particularly associated with the implementation of more sophisticated forms of eGovernment. Certification, on the other hand, apparently does not have an impact on eGovernment adoption. Exploiting the synergies that might exist between these approaches seems to be essential to really bring about institutional change, essential to enhance sustainability and produce long‑term results.

 

Keywords: TQM, eGovernment, local government, organisational change, certification

 

Share |

Journal Issue

Volume 9 Issue 1 / Sep 2011  pp1‑92

Editor: Frank Bannister

View Contents Download PDF (free)

Editorial

Ships that Pass in the Night?

 

For some years now I have been involved in the PhD symposium at the European Group for Public Administration’s (EGPA’s) annual conference.  The majority of the PhD students attending these symposia are doing their research in public administration rather than e‑government, but sometimes ICT raises its head in unexpected situations.

 

This happened a few weeks ago at this year’s conference in Bucharest when a student was presenting some of the ongoing results from the COCOPS project.  Don’t worry about the acronym (www.eur.nl/cocops/ if you want to know more), COCOPS is an EU funded project which, inter alia is trying to evaluate the impact of various public sector reforms.  In the presentation in question, the student discussed and analysed various attempts to evaluate the impact of New Public Management (NPM) on public administration and citizens over the period from about the early 1990s to the present.

 

This coincides, give or take a year or two, with the period of the Internet and the Web in government.  So in the discussion afterwards I could not resist asking the obvious question: how are you (or COCOPS) going to differentiate the effect of NPM (or any other reform over this period) from the impact of technology?   This led to a lively discussion at the end of which there was no clear answer – possibly because distilling out such impacts is next to impossible.

 

The question of evaluating the impact of e‑government is one for another day.  My observation here is that the student, and one assumes that COCOPS team (and a very distinguished bunch they are), did not seem to have given this matter much, if any, thought.  Given that Eric Brynjolfsson is on record as claiming that almost all of the productivity gains in the US economy over the past 20 plus years are attributable to information technology, it seems a bit well, quixotic, to ignore the impact of the same technology in the public sector.  Quixotic maybe, but surprising no.  The world of public administration, or at least the academic end of it, is still, seemingly, largely oblivious of IT.  In fact the previous week at the eGov conference in Delft when I remarked at an IFIP meeting that the Oxford Handbook of Public Management had only two chapters which considered IT at all (and one of those was on IT in government by Helen Margretts) a leading American academic (whose identity I will protect though he has tenure) snorted on contemptuously that that was because public administration academics were still 30 years behind in their thinking.

 

A bit over the top maybe, but there a germ of truth in this accusation as there is in the sometimes heard counter accusation that too many people working in e‑government do not know enough about mainstream public administration, its concepts, theories and ideas.  A small number academics bridge this divide and many of them are to be found at EGPA each year, but it is a gap that really needs to be addressed by both sides.  Both public administration and e‑government worlds have much to learn from each other and if they could, there world would be the richer for it. 

 

Frank Bannister

September 2011

 

Keywords: CIO, local government, Mexico, IT organization, eService, electronic service, public service delivery, eGovernment application, interoperability, integrated service, Bangladesh, actor-network theory, eGovernment, eHealth, enterprise architecture, evolving structure, implementation, participatory budgeting, eDemocracy, Symfony, Quimby, open-source, eDem 1.0, software reuse, electronic PB, TQM, eGovernment, local government, organisational change, certification,

 

Share |