Failure to Transform: The Gap in e-Government Stage Models

Klievink, Bram; van Veenstra, Anne Fleur; Janssen, Marijn
January 2009
Proceedings of the European Conference on e-Government;2009, p398
Conference Proceeding
Stage models are a popular instrument for describing and guiding the development of e-government initiatives. However, recent research shows that although stage models describe past developments quite well, few to no organizations have yet been observed to have gone through all stages. We analyzed various stage models to identify what they include in the highest stage they foresee and found four general characteristics of the mature stage of e-government. Based on the characteristics, we explored a case to identify the challenges that government organizations encounter when trying to achieve the mature stage that is described in the models. We found that the mature stage is often defined in a linear model towards an ideal situation, providing little insights into how to overcome the difficulties that organizations face when trying to achieve the highest - mature or transformed - stage that stage models describe. We suggest that stage models should define their mature stages clearer and identify the stages in which organizations ready themselves to transform their culture, organizational structure and political guidance before they can be considered to be in the mature stage. Furthermore, the mature stage should not be seen as a static position, but should possess characteristics that support the ongoing process of improving the public sector. We recommend that further research is carried out on the gap between the (descriptive) stages - that are often IT driven and focus on organizational characteristics - and the normative stage which envisions a complete change in the character of the public sector.


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