Academic journal article Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research

Applying Business Process Change (BPC) to Implement Multi-Agency Collaboration: The Case of the Greek Public Administration

Academic journal article Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research

Applying Business Process Change (BPC) to Implement Multi-Agency Collaboration: The Case of the Greek Public Administration

Article excerpt

Abstract

A great number of recent studies in the e-government area focus on investigating how technology-induced changes in the public sector connect with the New Public Management (NPM) reform, envisioned by many politicians. Researchers in this field contend that e-government denotes a structural and process-oriented change of governmental organizations, with the objective of getting them to run more efficiently. Adopting this perspective, this paper revisits a well-established business process change (BPC) methodology for the public sector and applies it to analyse the Greek initiative of Citizens Service Centers (CSCs) towards a one-stop hybrid (physical and electronic) government model. Considering the particularities of public organizations, we position our research as dealing fundamentally with ex-ante planned incremental changes at the micro level, being part of either a revolutionary or evolutionary transformation program at the macro level. We argue in favor of extending the six stages of the initially prescribed BPC methodology with an additional stage, named 'institutionalize change'. This serves the need of applying BPC to implement changes that enable multi-agency collaboration at a national level.

Keywords: E-government, Business process change, Integration, Multi-agency collaboration, Greece

1 Introduction

The growth of the public sector in the 1970s and early 1980s has set the scene for subsequent pressures for reforms. Therefore, governments worldwide have engaged in ongoing high-profile and comprehensive reform plans. Implemented through a wide range of different change programmes, reform plans usually encompass a wide spectrum of changes, such as changes in the relationships between the central, regional and local level of administration as well as changes in the organizational design of public services [34].

From Sweden to Spain and from Portugal to Greece, reform policies have been put on the map in favor of new managerial practices in order to become more efficient and better respond to the needs of citizens ([48], [55]). Most reforms are oriented towards structural and process redesign of the public organizations with the aid of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The use of information technology can provide powerful additions to the communication infrastructure of governmental agencies [22], generating significant information efficiencies and synergies [11]. Moreover, the use of telecommunications helps to promote the multiplicative gain that can be obtained through multi-agency collaboration.

The great majority of early e-government projects focused on redesigning a single governmental institution's services and information delivery, and thus generated internal efficiencies. Nevertheless, the latest developments in eGovernment at EU level have shown that there is value to be created through integration of services across the boundaries of departments and governmental agencies. These cross-governmental initiatives yield great promise for producing "better public services" and shift attention to processes, structures and information flows across the national governmental enterprise. Working at the national level allows sufficient scope and authority for redesign efforts [47].

Based on a progress study of the i2010 eGovernment Action Plan [13], an important issue of concern for the European Commission is the overall "flatlining" of citizen use of eGovernment services. More specifically, while almost all indicators of citizen online activity continue to show a year-on-year increase from 2004 to 2008, the interaction with the public administration presents a downturn. An explanation provided concerns the need for a more deep-seated transformation in the way governments use ICT to provide services. A similar finding has been made by the OECD [40] which points to the need to shift the eGovernment focus from a government- and silo-centric to a user-centric approach. …

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