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The Transformational Effect of Web 2.0 Technologies on Government

41 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2009  

Ines Mergel

Syracuse University - Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

Charlies M. Schweik

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Jane E. Fountain

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Department of Political Science

Date Written: June 1, 2009

Abstract

Web 2.0 technologies are now being deployed in government settings. For example, public agencies have used blogs to communicate information on public hearings, wikis and RSS feeds to coordinate work, and wikis to internally share expertise, and intelligence information. The potential for Web 2.0 tools create a public sector paradox. On the one hand, they have the potential to create real transformative opportunities related to key public sector issues of transparency, accountability, communication and collaboration, and to promote deeper levels of civic engagement. On the other hand, information flow within government, across government agencies and between government and the public is often highly restricted through regulations, specific reporting structures and therefore usually delayed through the filter of the bureaucratic constraints. What the emergent application and popularity of Web 2.0 tools show is that there is an apparent need within government to create, distribute and collect information outside the given hierarchical information flow. Clearly, these most recent Internet technologies are creating dramatic changes in the way people at a peer-to-peer production level communicate and collaborate over the Internet. And these have potentially transformative implications for the way public sector organizations do work and communicate with each other and with citizens. But they also create potential difficulties and challenges that have their roots in the institutional contexts these technologies are or will be deployed within. In other words, it is not the technology that hinders us from transformation and innovation – it is the organizational and institutional hurdles that need to be overcome. This paper provides an overview of the transformative organizational, technological and informational challenges ahead.

Keywords: Web 2.0, Government 2.0, public sector reform, organizational transformation

Suggested Citation

Mergel, Ines and Schweik, Charlies M. and Fountain, Jane E., The Transformational Effect of Web 2.0 Technologies on Government (June 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1412796 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1412796

Ines Mergel (Contact Author)

Syracuse University - Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs ( email )

215 Eggers Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.maxwell.syr.edu/iamergel/

Charles M. Schweik

University of Massachusetts Amherst ( email )

Department of Operations and Information Managemen
Amherst, MA 01003
United States

Jane E. Fountain

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Department of Political Science ( email )

Thompson Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
United States

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