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Digital government and public management research: finding the crossroads

J. Ramon Gil-Garcia, Sharon S. Dawes and Theresa A. Pardo

Public Management Review, 2018, vol. 20, issue 5, 633-646

Abstract: Information and information technologies have become ubiquitous in the public sector and it is difficult to think of a public problem or government service that does not involve them in some substantial way. Public management (PM) research now incorporates the effects of the availability and quality of data as well as the technologies used in the public sector. From a PM perspective, digital government (DG) could be considered an essential aspect of innovation, co-production, transparency, and the generation of public value. However, studies that attempt to understand the role that DG research plays in PM theory and practice are scarce. As a research field, DG emerged from multiple disciplines, including public administration, information science, management information systems, computer science, communication, and political science. There have been numerous efforts in the last decade to delineate this emergent academic community by assessing the growing body of research represented by hundreds of new peer-reviewed publications every year. This paper reviews these prior studies about the DG community, along with a systematic review of recent articles in top public administration journals from the United States and Europe, to begin to identify and compare key characteristics of these academic communities, including their core researchers, theories, topics, and methods. We argue that their similarities and differences present opportunities for more dialogue between DG and PM scholars that could produce synergies to enhance the production and dissemination of knowledge, yielding greater influence on practice.

Date: 2018
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