I recently proposed an abstract for a conference on IT & Society. Let me share it with you:

Towards a new paradigm for a Web 2.0-enabled Government


Government exists in a complex of forces. As citizens push for better service, political leaders expect better efficiencies and public servants need access to better tools, the public service continues to have decreasing rates of satisfaction. As the public changes, governments evolve and technologies advance, a disconnect between competing ways and means exists in the current model of government. An update to the public management paradigm is needed.

The current public management paradigm ”New Public Management” is already reaching – perhaps even surpassing its limits, despite its recent upbringings. Initially implemented on the premise that public value could be had by recreating the industrial machine into managerial processes, the returns for New Public Management are dwindling as its perceived value dissipates. The measures are become irrelevant as the metrics become inaccurate. Governments are out of touch with connected citizens, and out of step with an ever-changing and varied population.

First elaborated by Moore in 1995, the proposed follow-up “Public Value Management” paradigm was traditionally proposed as a rebuke to New Public Management. With a stronger fit to renewing the role of government to the needs of the political heads and the public, indications are that it balances well with technology. As criticisms on New Public Management swell, and demands grow on governments to be more responsive and adaptable, Public Value Management may hold potential to balance the governance structures of government and its continually changing relationship with the public. Reviews of the Public Value Management paradigm were undertaken anew in 2005 by G. Stoker, making a valuable argument for a new reform in public management. This  review of the Public Value Management paradigm, this time from a perspective of Informatics and Technology is valuable, putting to test this paradigm and revealing the pervasive role of Web 2.0 from a governance perspective.

A model of the current of friction between current governance (which applies the New Public Management paradigm) and Web 2.0 is offered. This model illustrates that although Web 2.0 strengthens two valuable pillars of the public service, “Social Learning” and “Networked Governance”, it diminishes the authority and control of Governance. A successive model is proposed, where, under a governance supported by a Public Value Management paradigm, retains its power and control (yet through responsibility and public participation), Web 2.0 is balanced by supporting Social learning and Networked Governance, with no overlap on Governance.

To classify the range of Web 2.0 tools in Government, a categorization of Web 2.0 is developed, to better understand the frictional effects of Web 2.0 and its alignment with Public Value Management. The classification is according to the directions of information flows relating to the Web 2.0 tool’s use and Government. The 4 classifications include: Use of Web 2.0 internal to Government (“G”); Web 2.0 is used external to Government (“P”); information flows from the Government to the Public (“GP”); information flows from the public to the government (“PG”). These classifications have unique and common characteristics that are important for reviewing the fledgling use or involvement of Web 2.0 by Government, internal & external to the government, engaged with the public or not.

Public Value Management focuses on value to the citizens by engaging them within the process of government, seeking endorsement and communicating the goals. As the public sphere is redefined by social networks and collaborative frameworks, government and the work of government is as well through support of social learning, networked governance and access to tools. A review of the role of government with respect to connected technology is an important discussion that needs to be undertaken in a multi-disciplinary forum, and the Public Value Management paradigm may be the key to narrowing the gaps of understanding.