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Letting the public in: Dialectic tensions when governments use ICT to engage citizens

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Among the raft of information systems (IS) applications developed for use by local governments are those that attempt to introduce more open community engagement (CE) and facilitate e-democracy. In this paper, we report on a longitudinal study that reveals how the open nature of e-democracy challenges the practices of government bureaucracies. In 2012, we partnered with the Community Engagement Team of a Local Government Council in Australia, to study their planning for, and use of, IS for CE. Our study involved an action research intervention to gain a rich understanding of the contradictory demands of the bureaucratic imperative of the Council and the informal activities of the community. This was the first step of a longitudinal qualitative study of the Council’s e- democracy efforts over the ensuing seven years. Our analysis has been conducted through a dialectic lens, informed by the Cynefin sense-making framework. Our theoretical contribution is an e-Democracy Framework that incorporates the dialectic between the ordered environment of government and the community view that is ill-defined and unordered. As a practical contribution, government organisations can use the Framework to assess the current status of their CE and design a CE strategy to make interactions with civil society more meaningful.

UOW Authors


Publication Date


  • 2020

Citation


  • H. Hasan & H. Linger, "Letting the public in: Dialectic tensions when governments use ICT to engage citizens", Australasian Journal of Information Systems 24 (2020) 1-31.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85097529775

Number Of Pages


  • 30

Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 31

Volume


  • 24

Place Of Publication


  • Australia

Abstract


  • Among the raft of information systems (IS) applications developed for use by local governments are those that attempt to introduce more open community engagement (CE) and facilitate e-democracy. In this paper, we report on a longitudinal study that reveals how the open nature of e-democracy challenges the practices of government bureaucracies. In 2012, we partnered with the Community Engagement Team of a Local Government Council in Australia, to study their planning for, and use of, IS for CE. Our study involved an action research intervention to gain a rich understanding of the contradictory demands of the bureaucratic imperative of the Council and the informal activities of the community. This was the first step of a longitudinal qualitative study of the Council’s e- democracy efforts over the ensuing seven years. Our analysis has been conducted through a dialectic lens, informed by the Cynefin sense-making framework. Our theoretical contribution is an e-Democracy Framework that incorporates the dialectic between the ordered environment of government and the community view that is ill-defined and unordered. As a practical contribution, government organisations can use the Framework to assess the current status of their CE and design a CE strategy to make interactions with civil society more meaningful.

UOW Authors


Publication Date


  • 2020

Citation


  • H. Hasan & H. Linger, "Letting the public in: Dialectic tensions when governments use ICT to engage citizens", Australasian Journal of Information Systems 24 (2020) 1-31.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85097529775

Number Of Pages


  • 30

Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 31

Volume


  • 24

Place Of Publication


  • Australia