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Public sector reforms and the notion of 'public value': implications for egovernment deployment

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Governments are increasingly investing in information and communication technologies (ICT) as tool to foster the rationalization of public administration. This paper discusses e-government within the context of governmental reforms heavily influenced by the New Public Management (NPM), which suggests that the use of ICT within the public sector will enhance efficiency, effectiveness and accountability. Based on the concept of ‘public value’ developed by Moore (1995), we propose to question the overall impact e-government initiatives may have on governments’ ability to deliver social and economic outcomes that correspond to citizens’ expectations. Our central argument is presented as follows: while ICT can help to achieve the main NPM values, e-government initiatives do not guarantee to have a positive effect on broader public values. Even when this argument is not new, in this paper we aim to strengthen the need for a deeper discussion of the implications of e-government programs in the context of public values. To do so, we propose a framework that distinguishes between clusters of public values: those that are related to managerial practices and those related to democratic values. We draw on descriptive examples to illustrate our main arguments.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/43672/

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