Digital Government

Technology and Public Sector Transformation

by Darrell M.West

Number of pages: 234

Publisher: Princeton University Press

BBB Library: Technology and Globalization, Politics and Public Affairs

ISBN: 9780691134079

About the Author

Darrell M.West is a professor of Political Science and Public Policy and director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University.


Editorial Review

This book looks at the phenomenon of electronic government, that is, public sector use of the internet and other digital devices to deliver services, information, and democracy itself. Although personal computers have been around for several decades, recent advances in networking, video imaging, and graphics interfacing have allowed governments to develop websites that contain a variety of online materials. As more and more people take advantage of these features, digital government is supplanting traditional means of access based on personal visits, phone calls, and mail delivery.

Book Reviews

"In a detailed and well written analysis of current e-government practices, West looks at a series of factors that have helped or hindered the growth and adoption of public-sector online services." Gov Tech

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Wisdom to Share

More consistency across e-government sites would make it easier for citizens to use online materials.

The mass media will play a crucial role in educating the public about e-government.

Owing to how they think about and utilize technology, individuals either facilitate or constrain change.

There are many aspects of internet technology that offer hope of improving the connectedness between citizens and government agencies.

Citizens do not make public policy directly but rather exercise control through their choice of leaders.

Technology advocates often have touted the potential of new inventions to transform civic life and bring citizens closer to government.

Until larger numbers of citizens take advantage of Internet services, e-government's transformational potential will be limited.

Online tax filing is an example of successful technological change that is pleasing to government officials & the general public.

Citizens who are comfortable with the Internet like online tax service because it is convenient, speedy and reliable.

Political leadership and professional staff are vital for bureaucratic inertia to be overcome.

Many government agencies suffer because of their inability to marshal resources necessary to introduce technology into the public sector.

Without public interest or media coverage, it is difficult to assemble the resources required for technological change.

New technology requires money as does meeting special populations’ needs or incorporating interactive features to government websites.

If government websites are written at a high level, then it is difficult for a wide range of citizens to comprehend online material.

Citizens need websites that are legible at a level they can comprehend.

Website readability is a measure of the accessibility of government sites.

One of the virtues of electronic technology is the ability to tailor information to different people, depending on their specific circumstances.

Technology should enable more than 90% of all households to be successful users of information & communications services at least once a week.

Part of the digital divide deals with whether all citizens share equally in the benefits of technology.

A key measure of how e-government is progressing involves the manner in which technology serves populations with special needs.

In recent years, officials have faced major changes that are relevant for their technology decisions & overall capacity for organizational innovation.

Bureaucrats and politicians are central to public sector decision to adopt new technology. They allocate funds and mediate conflict.

Being able to go online and view government reports and databases helps citizens understand what the public sector is doing.

E-government offers the prospect of considerable change in how the public sector functions.

Information technology (IT) alters the capacity and control features of traditional bureaucracies.