Category:Civil Servants

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Civil servants are government officials that work in municipalities or counties and represent and represent a third important stakeholder group besides (local) politics and civil society (citizens, NGOs, or businesses). In the past, the interaction between citizens and local authorities took place mainly personally, written or by phone. The technicological progress leads to an increased use of modern ICTs, especially the internet (e.g., websites or social networking sites), that has changed the interaction between government and society fundamentally (cf. Ruiz Ben/Schuppan 2014, p. 1; Lenk 2015, pp. 201-202): Today, citizens can communicate and interact via the internet and do not have to visit the local governments personally. Offering government services through web applications is called eGovernment (cf. Ruiz Ben/Schuppan 2014, p. 1). Additionally, and especially for a better interaction, more transparency and inclusion of citizens in political decision-making processes, participation via internet (=online-participation) is getting introduced in some municipalities (cf. Sæbø/Rose/Flak 2008). These changes influence the working environment and tasks of civil servants.

Theories and Results

Research on the individual (micro) level of e-participation in the public administration domain is generally scarce. Although research regarding the digital transformation and implementation of ICTs in public organizations emphasized the importance of coordinating and leadership roles like CIOs to anchor ICT related change in the top management of public administrations (e.g., Tassabeji et al. 2016), as well as the importance of public managers' attitutdes towards public values (Rose et al. 2015), or highlighted the challenge of individual learning and new skills and capabilities for e-government (e.g., Schuppan 2014); there has been a dearth in research about individual perspectives and strategies of administrators and public managers that are confronted with e-participation. Nevertheless some exceptional examples have started to analyze civil servants:

  • Civil servants are confronted with innovations and new requirements influencing their job (e.g. in context of eGovernment and online-participation). These are for example:
    • New institutional and reform demands for greater participation and interaction lead to new roles (cf. Janssen/Helbig 2016)
    • More transparency of administrative work leads to more external communication with the society (e.g. accountability about a decision-making process) that represents a greater challenge for civil servants than internal communication processes (cf. Pandey/Garnett 2006)).
  • Civil servants' attitudes towards and perceptions of online-participation have been analyzed to some extent:
    • Aikins and Krane (cf. 2010) points out that public officials often prefer traditional formats of citizens' participation instead of using the internet. That is one reason why frequently only few ressources for the development of internet-based participation formats. A later study by Pina and Torres (cf. 2016) similarly finds that public managers evaluate online-participation as one chanel for participation amongst others and are somewhat sceptic about the positive effects of online (as well as offline) participation projects because of their limited representativity.
    • Carrizales (cf. 2008) highlights that, next to the municipalitiy's monetary resources, the view of chief administrative officers has a significant influence on the (perceived) performance of online-participation (edemocracy) in municipalities.
    • Ganapati and Reddick (cf. 2014) show that chief administration officers had generally positive attitudes towards transparency, participation and collaboration in context of ICTs for open goverments. According to that it is a relevant project for them. Nevertheless, they also perceive challenges that are "negatively significant for achievement and satisfaction with open government" (Ganapi/Reddick 2014, p. 365) such as adequate funding or civil servants' training.
    • Bolívar (cf. 2017) points out that policy makers are willing to use modern ICTs for a better involvement of citizens, but their attitudes towards its implementation are often oriented towards traditional bureaucratic formats and structures. New governance mechanisms like "Do-It-Yourself Government" or "Co-Production" have been less attractive to policy-makers. Additionally, the study shows that attitutdes of policy-makers in local governments depend on political factors. For instance, public managers in municipalities with majority governments are more willing to use collaborative participation formats than those in minority governments (see also Bolívar 2015).

Methods & Measurement

The Studies usually sought to measure civil servants attitudes and perceptions about online-participation using standardized survey methods that can be extended with other methods like interviews (e.g., Ganapati/Reddick 2014)


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Pages in category "Civil Servants"

The following 14 pages are in this category, out of 14 total.