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Public Values and Decision Making in the Swedish e-Government Context
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Information Systems and Technology.
2017 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis addresses topics of public values and decision making in relation to the use of technology in the public sector. The research is conducted in the Swedish government context. A range of values that is specific to the public sector has been defined and classified in prior research. These public values can be defined as normative agreements of how a government should act. The Swedish government spends SEK 46.5 billion on information technology every year. Some of these funds are invested in improvements that are intended to increase efficiency and openness, as well as to make it easier for citizens to use government services. Such ambitions are studied in the e-Government research field. The literature suggests that reasons to question the promised values of implementing technology in the public sector exist and that many initiatives ultimately fail. The public sector has some unique features that may increase complexity, such as the variety of stakeholders and multitude of organizations that are both involved in the development process and affected by the outcomes. The purpose of this thesis is to explore public values and decision making in the Swedish e-Government context by posing three research questions. 1: How can public values be utilized in decision making? 2: Under what conditions are decisions made in the studied context? 3: How can value-based decision making be adopted by e-Government practice? The thesis is based on quantitative and qualitative data gathered from case studies and a survey. Its theoretical contribution is a comparison of theoretical concepts from decision theory and public values, which are then applied to e-Government. Several fragmented concepts from e-Government can be tied together under decision theory. The study’s results show that many decisions are taken under a great deal of uncertainty due to the absence of formal support mechanisms. The Swedish public administration leans toward a variety of project models in its work with e-Government, and these models constitute the arena in which decisions are made and risk analysis is performed. However, many risks as well as opportunities reside beyond the studied projects’ control. Holistic stakeholder inclusion and risk analysis are suggested as practices beneficial for increasing value and reducing uncertainty. The thesis concludes by suggesting that further research should continue to apply concepts from decision theory on e-Government. This includes revealing the motivations and values behind digitalization of the public sector.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2017. , 41 p.
Series
Mid Sweden University licentiate thesis, ISSN 1652-8948 ; 130
Keyword [en]
decision making, public values, e-Government
Keyword [sv]
beslutsteori, värdeteori, nyttorealisering, digitalisering, e-förvaltning, offentlig sektor
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-30661ISBN: 978-91-88527-14-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-30661DiVA: diva2:1091346
Presentation
2017-05-22, C310, Sundsvall, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Vid tidpunkten för försvar av avhandlingen var följande delarbeten opublicerade: delarbete 3 och 4 accepterade.

At the time of the defence the following papers were accepted, but unpublished: Paper 3 and Paper 4.

Available from: 2017-04-26 Created: 2017-04-26 Last updated: 2017-04-26Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Risk and Decision in Collaborative e-Government: An Objectives-Oriented Approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Risk and Decision in Collaborative e-Government: An Objectives-Oriented Approach
2016 (English)In: Electronic Journal of e-Government, ISSN 1479-439X, E-ISSN 1479-439X, Vol. 14, no 1, 35-46 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [sv]

Developing e-services in the public sector is a demanding task that involves a variety of stakeholders and values. Further complexity is added by organizational and institutional challenges, especially when specialized government agencies are expected to collaborate to create seamless, integrated services. This paper focuses on decision making and risk analysis in two Swedish collaborative e-Government cases. Empirical material consists of semi-structured interviews and project documentation, which are analyzed using an objectives-oriented Logical Framework Approach (LFA). The results highlight two factors that influence the outcomes of the projects; governance for collaboration and financial models for distributing resources between government agencies. When these formal support mechanisms are not provided, they become risks for the projects and create uncertainties in decision processes. While the studied government context has matured enough to develop fully functional platforms for e-services, these uncertainties become issues when public values are to be measured and evaluated. The paper concludes by suggesting the use of public values as objectives together with measurable indicators in order to create a common language for decision making and risk management across government agencies.

National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-28180 (URN)
Available from: 2016-06-29 Created: 2016-06-29 Last updated: 2017-08-08Bibliographically approved
2. Decision Making and Value Realization in Multi-Actor e-Government Contexts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Decision Making and Value Realization in Multi-Actor e-Government Contexts
2016 (English)In: The IOS conference proceedings for the Dual IFIP EGOV and ePart 2016 / [ed] Hans Jochen Scholl, 2016, Vol. 23, 147-154 p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In the last two decades, governments around the world have been implementing electronic services in order to create a range of public values and meet new demands from a variety of stakeholders. Such activities fall within the scope of the e-Government research field. Developing large-scale information systems has proven to be a challenging task and many initiatives have ended in failure. This paper explores uncertainty in the e-Government context. How is it related to the various actors in the public sector, and how can decision making be adapted here to improve value realization? Using actor-network theory as an analytical lens, the collaboration of five Swedish municipalities in creating common e-services is examined as a case study. The results indicate that factors beyond decision makers’ control, such as relations outside of a project, create a high degree of uncertainty. This uncertainty can be reduced by creating durable relations between local and global socio-technical actors. Inscribing values into generic software that has a high grade of interoperability should help to strengthen these networks beyond projects and regional borders.

Keyword
e-government, egov, electronic government, decision making, value realization, public values, e-Government, actor network theory, ANT
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-28730 (URN)10.3233/978-1-61499-670-5-147 (DOI)000383380900015 ()978-1-61499-670-5 (ISBN)
Conference
Dual IFIP EGOV and ePart Conference 2016
Available from: 2016-09-08 Created: 2016-09-08 Last updated: 2017-04-26Bibliographically approved

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