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The second wave of digital era governance

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Some of the most difficult issues in public management revolve around making strategic choices for the future in an era of rapid social, cultural and technological change. In previous work we drew a contrast between new public management (NPM) approaches, which predominated in the period 1980-­‐2002, and digital era governance (DEG) which grew fast in the 2000s. Since that time the rapid development of societal and technological uses of online processes has been matched by the seismic impact of the 2008 credit crunch and financial crisis, now mapping out as austerity regimes in many OECD countries. In this paper we review the current fortunes of NPM, which has not revived despite the pressure on public spending. By contrast, the first wave of digital-­‐era governance changes have flourished and the importance of key DEG themes has increased– specifically reintegrating government services, pushing towards holistic delivery to clients and responding to the digitalization wave in public services. We also argue for the emergence of an influential ‘second wave’ of digital-­‐era changes inside government, responding to the advent of the social web, cloud computing, apps development and many other recent phenomena moving advanced industrial societies further towards an online civilization.

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