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Power and Organizational Transformation through Technology: Hybrids of Electronic Government

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Abstract

This paper considers the UK Government's major modernization programme for local government and its aim to use technology to bring about a radical transformation in the delivery of public services by joining up hitherto separate service departments and focusing the organization of services around the citizen. Drawing upon empirical fieldwork in the worth of England, the paper seeks to shed light on the realization and operation of modernization and considers the issues of power and hybridity involved in the emplacement of new organizational configurations ('front office' contact centres and 'back office' service departments) to handle citizen inquiries.

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... The citizen-centric approach meant to focus on releasing the citizen from the negative impact of bureaucratic processes, but the impact was rather dissatisfaction of the "client", with limited improvement of citizens' perception regarding their administrations. With this consideration, a citizen-driven approach transforms what before was a principle, i.e. a bottom up approach, into a 1 required architectural technological approach (Maio 2009). Engagement of citizens is viewed as a way to improve citizen trust in governments and in new tools for administering the public domain. ...
... In a new public management approach, Bloomfield expressed this as agents' interactions: "... not attribute power to structures or relations or processes that cannot be characterized as agents" (Lukes, 2005 cited by Bloomfield, 2009). 1 Employees often are not considered key stakeholders and the citizen-centric perspective on e-Government solutions was the main reason for that. Yet technology depends on the surrounding heterogeneous networks and human actors or institutions (Bloomfield & Hayes, 2009). ...
... In a new public management approach, Bloomfield expressed this as agents' interactions: "... not attribute power to structures or relations or processes that cannot be characterized as agents" (Lukes, 2005 cited by Bloomfield, 2009). 1 Employees often are not considered key stakeholders and the citizen-centric perspective on e-Government solutions was the main reason for that. Yet technology depends on the surrounding heterogeneous networks and human actors or institutions (Bloomfield & Hayes, 2009). If employees are part of the technology creation process, resistance to change is diminished, they become part of the process, solutions adapt to them and not vice versa. ...
Article
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The adoption of web-based technologies in order to deliver government services has become a global trend in public administration. e-Government also means that governments have to act as a private entity and compete for best delivered services towards citizens due to the societal challenges and shifting relations. But such transformation has significant implications, such as answering in a collaborative, intelligent manner to the needs and demands of the citizens, to the different categories of users including the elderly, women, men, youngsters, or disadvantaged groups. The construction and management of the virtual space becomes an essential element of modern public administration. The assumption is that Governments become more efficient in an electronic “version”. In order to evaluate their e-Government projects governments’ need to point towards the value added that technology is bringing in terms of impact. To conduct such an evaluation one needs to include also the effort put forth in such projects - in terms of financial, human resources, and policy. All three dimensions are equally important and complementary
... Echoing calls in earlier labour process debates for a focus on empirical study rather than neat theorizations, Miller et al. (2008) call for study of the nature and character of hybridity. Bloomfield and Hayes' (2009) Foucaultian study of e-government in six UK local authorities over two-years highlights the importance of context in meeting the challenges of hybridization including service integration and a focus upon service process rather than structures (see also Kramer 2004;Bell et al. 2008). They conclude that the hybrid organization necessarily redistributes power, including political power, faces challenges in integrating technology and services and lengthy discourse allowing participants to renegotiate new language and meanings. ...
... They conclude that the hybrid organization necessarily redistributes power, including political power, faces challenges in integrating technology and services and lengthy discourse allowing participants to renegotiate new language and meanings. My research follows, Bloomfield and Hayes' (2009) pragmatic approach to understanding the nature and character of the hybridity. However, my interest is primarily in performance in the tradition of MacDuflie (1997), i.e. how organizational logic, in the sense of situationally appropriate bundles of HR practices drive performance, in particular learning and its translation into incremental and radical service improvement. ...
... The case illustrates a L-PSO using a listening and learning performance culture to improve local services and generate investment resources using innovative crossgovernances (PPPs, arms length companies) and clumsy (hybrid) organizational forms (CHCP; integrated service centres), which along with WLAM have resulted in innovative governances. My current and further research explores the territory covered by Bloomfield and Hayes (2009) on power relations in hybrid organizations in Central Scotland. Innovation alters intra-organizational forms developing new information flows (Stinchcombe 1990), new linkages between levels of the organization and new currencies for evaluating performance (Goodman 2000). ...
Article
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Commenting upon strands of post-new public management (NPM) debate, including Lapsley (2009) and Osborne (2010a) the article argues that as local public service organizations enter the age of austerity, performance driven by innovation and learning, will be an important feature of any NPM paradigm. The article suggests a theoretical framework for innovation in local public services: listening and learning, illustrating its usefulness by a case study of West Lothian Council, Scotland.
... E-government typically seeks to share and exchange information and transactions within and between government departments and allow for direct transactions between citizens, businesses and governments (McIvor et al., 2004). One typical component of e-government projects, specifically relevant to us, is the establishment of 'one-stop shops', which are single contact points such as face-to-face citizen service centres (CSCs), email or web sites for citizens, and business to request public services (Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009). One-stop shops require significant reorganisation, from long established bureaucratic administrative procedures towards more joined up and citizen-centric processes (Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009). ...
... One typical component of e-government projects, specifically relevant to us, is the establishment of 'one-stop shops', which are single contact points such as face-to-face citizen service centres (CSCs), email or web sites for citizens, and business to request public services (Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009). One-stop shops require significant reorganisation, from long established bureaucratic administrative procedures towards more joined up and citizen-centric processes (Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009). ...
... CSCs also created competition between themselves and government departments (Ciborra, 2005;Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009). It allowed citizens to choose between requesting services from the newly established institution (the CSCs) or to continue to request services from government departments. ...
Article
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This paper examines critically whether e-government initiatives can be conceived of as representing a shift from a bureaucratic to a citizen-centric institutional logic. We draw upon a longitudinal study of a Greek e-government initiative that introduced one-stop shops for the delivery of government services. Based on institutional theory, we provide a framework that illustrates the domains of institutional change that accompany e-government projects and show how such institutional change can be understood as complex imbrications of contrasting institutional logics rather than one institutional logic displacing another. We argue that imbricated logics may have many unintended consequences which are not simply the outcome of either of the logics but are emergent from the imbrication.
... A major debate in the literature on hybridity concerns their nature and origins. Some suggest that hybridity is a combination of existing entities that are typically found separately (Battilana and Dorado, 2010;Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009;Miller et al., 2008). Metaphors such as 'layered hybridity' and 'grafted hybridity' have been used to illustrate hybridity as a process of bringing together different elements in varied ways (Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009). ...
... Some suggest that hybridity is a combination of existing entities that are typically found separately (Battilana and Dorado, 2010;Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009;Miller et al., 2008). Metaphors such as 'layered hybridity' and 'grafted hybridity' have been used to illustrate hybridity as a process of bringing together different elements in varied ways (Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009). Other authors argue that hybridity is the construction of a new entity that reflects the entities, which it comes from (e.g. ...
... This 'other' is a result of translation and constitutes a hybrid. Generally, the relevance of the sociology of translation to the study of hybridity has been recognised in the literature (Brigham and Hayes, 2013) and has been supported by a rising interest in the role of technology in hybridity (Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009). It is to this growing literature our paper seeks to contribute by exploring how the 'translation' of EPR e during its local adaptability e conditions hybridity and the possibilities hybridity opens up for standardization of healthcare. ...
... Empirical studies of the IT-enabled rationalization of professional services suggest two broad findings. First, work regarded as routine and/or low status seems more likely to be earmarked for rationalization (Bélanger & Edwards, 2013;Bloomfield & Hayes, 2009). The second finding concerns the way that work changes when it is informatized. ...
... Consistent with the evidence from frontline service work, professional work also shifts to a micromanaged, scripted process, and the loss of 'activities that made the [workers'] role meaningful and gave them status' (Eriksson-Zetterquist, Lindberg & Styhre, 2009, p. 1163. Technology also intervenes by conveying particular norms through daily use, such as an ethos of customer service (Bloomfield & Hayes, 2009). ...
... Similar restrictions on research access to sensitive issues have been experienced in other studies of public sector informatization (e.g. Bloomfield & Hayes, 2009). Further, FirstService and WCC may not be representative of the wider populations of SSCs and UK local authorities, and we cannot make empirical generalizations from the case based on a simple 'sample-to-population' logic (Yin, 2013). ...
Article
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The flexibility of people in modern societies rests upon their capacity to divide themselves into separate modules of thought and action, and deploy them in ways that fit their purposes. The practice of ‘informatizing’ work by converting tasks into software-based processes entails the modular design of work, because software has a modular form. We use the concept of modularity to analyse the implications of informatization in the empirical context of a ‘shared service centre’ providing professional services. We make three contributions. First, informatization enlarges the scope for organizational flexibility, because the organization can be treated as a configuration of modules which can be reshuffled to suit changing circumstances. Second, employees must attempt to deploy enhanced modular capabilities, by executing any given set of processes, in a flexible, unemotional and time-efficient fashion. Third, given the ability to informatize complex service work, and the existence of organizational templates which accommodate it, the modular design and management of other services may become more common.
... Nevertheless, as Motion and Leitch (2009) Discourse, delineating what is legitimate and what is not, may also be perceived as a strategic resource that governments and other types of organizations can draw on to effect and legitimate change (Motion et al. 2009). For example, Bloomfield and Hayes (2009) have shown how the major modernization programme for local government in the UK was legitimized through the appeal to the importance and centrality of the citizen/customer. ...
... It has also shown that ICT-led transformation although influenced by policies and strategies (either directly mandating the use of particular technologies such as the NCRS or implicitly creating the need for new information systems) is also conditioned on local enactments (Petrakaki et al. 2011). Organizational transformation, perhaps more so in public than private organizations such as the NHS, takes time and is not characterized by a simple replacement of the 'old' with the 'new' but rather it is messy process, with the 'old' and the 'new' coexisting (Bloomfield et al. 2009) and with many detours and setbacks ( moving, at times, from the 'new' to the 'old'). For example, this paper has shown that shared EHR was promised in 1998, but its implementation is still in progress and the vision of how it is to be achieved has substantially evolved in the period of time under study. ...
Conference Paper
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This paper illustrates ways in which ICT are implicated in transforming healthcare from an organizationcentered model of delivery to a patient-centered model. Building on the literature on discourse analysis and organizational change it analyzes ICT-led organizational transformation and patient-centered healthcare discourses constructed in the UK's policy papers and enacted in healthcare organizations. It suggests that ICT discourse performs different roles in relation to patient-centered healthcare discourse, and theorizes them as opening of possibilities, amplifying and re-focusing. The research reveals that Electronic Health Records both facilitate and obstruct the transformation of healthcare towards a patientcentered model. This contradiction arises from a number of contingent, interacting factors including different organizational characteristics, implementation strategies and work practice, as well as different conceptualizations of patient-centered care. Organizational transformation takes time and is characterized by detours and setbacks.
... Hence, successful DT should begin with an understanding of the customers' behavior, preferences, and choices (Schuchmann and Seufert, 2015). We can see that this paradigm shift already takes place in various sectors and contexts, like the finance industry (Weichert, 2017), government (e.g., Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009;Tan et al., 2003;Weerakkody et al., 2011), healthcare (e.g., Eytan et al., 2011;Klecun, 2016), or the content industry (Oestreicher-Singer and Zalmanson, 2013). Furthermore, organizations need to adapt to the customer/user focus on almost all levels: the board (Evans, 2017), the business strategy (Oestreicher-Zinger and Zalmanson, 2013), the IT department (Narayanan, 2015), or security workplaces (Dang-Pham et al., 2017). ...
... Haffke et al. (2017) describe possible transformation journeys IT units can take in this regard, based on the concept of a bimodal IT. Overall, DT has the potential to change the whole enterprise architecture of a company (Zimmermann et al., 2016), join up hitherto separate departments (e.g., Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009;Davidson and Chismar, 2007), and transform organizational communication processes (Treem and Leonardi, 2012). Given these significant changes, DT will also influence organizations on the top executive level, facing them with major challenges, creating new roles, and triggering transformation at the strategic level (e.g., Evans, 2017;Gerth and Peppard, 2016;Resca et al., 2013). ...
... (2) partial (vs) transformational change; (3) tracking the key supporting drivers needed for radical change; and (4) hybrid or 'sedimented' organizational forms in technological and organizational domains (McNulty and Ferlie 2004;Bloomfield and Hayes 2009). Institutional theory could help analyse the relationship between competing institutional logics or archetypes (Reay and Hinings 2009). ...
... In the public sector, formal aspects of organizations (separate governance arrangements; distinct legal mandates and confidentiality requirements; separate financial flows; formally agreed divisions of labour between professions) are highly institutionalized. This governmental setting further blunts radical ICT-driven change so hybrid forms emerge (Bloomfield and Hayes 2009), heavily shaped by the receiving agencies. ...
Article
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The last two decades have seen a shift in public services organizations from hierarchies to networks. Network forms are seen as particularly suited to handling ‘wicked problems'. We make an assessment of the nature and impact of this shift. Using recent evidence from the United Kingdom (UK) National Health Service (NHS), we explore the nature and functioning of eight different public policy networks. We are also interested in whether there has been a radical transition – or not – from hierarchical to network forms.
... Change is grounded in, and emergent from, everyday practices, opportunities and unintended consequences (Orlikowski, 1996). Change in turn contributes to the development of new linguistic forms arising within new ways of acting and interacting, such as novel terminology, names and jargon (Bloomfield & Hayes, 2009;Fairclough, 2002). As a product of discourse, change is negotiated within multiple layers of meaning within diverse contexts (Broadfoot, Deetz, & Anderson, 2004). ...
... Failure to progress diluted any sense of the consequences of implementation such as new working practices. This resonates with Bloomfield and Hayes' (2009) study of the introduction of electronic government which highlights the contrast between the linear policy directive for 'new' practices to replace the 'old' with what in practice was a messy process of political, organizational and technological hybridization. Much of the fragmentation and dissonance between local discourses reflected different perceptions as to the causes and consequences of the delay rather than conflicting views relating to possible benefits of a fully functional electronic patient record. ...
Article
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The authors utilized pragmatic discursive analysis to consider their empirical study of the introduction of an electronic patient record system within hospitals based in a large region of the National Health Service in England. Their aim was to gain insight into the interplay between discourse and change as mediated by technology by exploring how a politically driven programme of change was translated during the introduction of a computer system intended to provide an electronic patient record. They identified contrasting discourses, determined by situated professional practices and stakeholder expectations that framed alternate understandings of the proposed systems implementation and related change processes. Over time, these contrasting local discourses in turn became increasingly dissonant with the national change programme policy rhetoric as the systems software failed to deliver anticipated benefits. The authors’ work emphasizes the mediating effect of technology in discourses of change. Limitations in systems functionality and a related lack of discourses of success slowed social momentum. Consequently, local and political articulations of change began to fragment. The authors suggest that understandings of change are experienced through different interpretive frameworks and mediated through the materiality of technology, highlighting the possibility of many and alternate meanings within any change process, and the considerable challenges in the development and implementation of information technology in healthcare.
... Hence, successful DT should begin with an understanding of the customers' behavior, preferences, and choices (Schuchmann and Seufert, 2015). We can see that this paradigm shift already takes place in various sectors and contexts, like the finance industry (Weichert, 2017), government (e.g., Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009;Tan et al., 2003;Weerakkody et al., 2011), healthcare (e.g., Eytan et al., 2011;Klecun, 2016), or the content industry (Oestreicher-Singer and Zalmanson, 2013). Furthermore, organizations need to adapt to the customer/user focus on almost all levels: the board (Evans, 2017), the business strategy (Oestreicher-Zinger and Zalmanson, 2013), the IT department (Narayanan, 2015), or security workplaces (Dang-Pham et al., 2017). ...
... Haffke et al. (2017) describe possible transformation journeys IT units can take in this regard, based on the concept of a bimodal IT. Overall, DT has the potential to change the whole enterprise architecture of a company (Zimmermann et al., 2016), join up hitherto separate departments (e.g., Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009;Davidson and Chismar, 2007), and transform organizational communication processes (Treem and Leonardi, 2012). Given these significant changes, DT will also influence organizations on the top executive level, facing them with major challenges, creating new roles, and triggering transformation at the strategic level (e.g., Evans, 2017;Gerth and Peppard, 2016;Resca et al., 2013). ...
... Discourse, delineating what is legitimate and what is not, may be perceived as a strategic resource that governments and other types of organizations can draw on to bring about and legitimize change (Motion and Leitch, 2009). For example, Bloomfield and Hayes (2009) have shown how the major modernization programme for local government in the UK was legitimized through the appeal to the importance and centrality of the citizen/customer. Such a conceptualization of discourse informing this research envisages technology as constructed in discourses (e.g., of organizational transformation and PCC) and in turn as influencing those discourses. ...
... It is a messy process characterized by many detours and setbacks, with the 'old' and the 'new' coexisting, rather than the 'new' simply replacing the 'old' (Bloomfield and Hayes, 2009).  It is difficult to implement controversial policies by means of IT; problems, disappointing outcomes, or even outright refusal to use IT are to be expected. ...
Article
Full-text available
Information Technology (IT) is increasingly seen in policy and academic literature as key to the modernization of healthcare provision and to making healthcare patient-centred. However, the concept of Patient-Centred Care (PCC) and the role of IT in the transformation of healthcare are not straightforward. Their meanings need unpacking in order to reveal assumptions behind different visions and their implications for IT-enabled healthcare transformation. To this end, this paper reviews literature on PCC and IT and analyses England's health policy between 1989 and 2013. English policy has set out to transform healthcare from organization-centric to patient-centred and has placed IT as central to this process. This policy vision is based on contested conceptualizations of PCC. IT implementation is problematic and this is at least partly because of the underpinning goals and visions of healthcare policy. If this misalignment is not addressed then producing technologically superior systems, or better IT implementation strategies, is unlikely to result in widespread and substantial changes to the way healthcare is delivered and experienced. For IT to support a healthcare service that is truly patient-centred, patients' needs and wants need to be identified and designed into IT-enabled services rather than simply added on afterwards.
... Technology has always played a central role in organizational affairs (Orlikowski and Scott 2008), and although it does not represent a necessary feature of the exercise of power, it nevertheless appears as an important modality of its operation in contemporary organizations (Bloomfield and Hayes 2009). Furthermore, it is the introduction of technology to organizations that often produces opportunities for managers to change the way they control workers (Gray 2001;Attewell 1987;Kling and Iacono 1984); indeed technology has often proved to be crucial in leaders and managers' efforts of looking for new ways for bringing their organizational environments under control (Simon 1965). ...
... Zuboff (1988) argues that managers can choose between using the information generated through automation for reducing the level of skills required to employees ("de-skilling "), or rather for "increasing" work, namely to give power to employees and increase the human work ("up-skilling "). However, technology is not simply an instrument of power that conveys management choices, but rather depends on a certain number of other factors, such as other technologies and actors involved (Bloomfield and Hayes 2009). According to a socio-material perspective, this finally means that employees play a significant role too in shaping how technologies are then employed in the organization. ...
Chapter
Ubiquitous technologies may offer interesting opportunities for both employers and employees to exert power within organizations with implications for workers performance improvement and assessment. However, along with these opportunities there are many hidden risks. Through a meta analysis concerning the adoption of wearable technologies at work, the chapter investigates the critical role played by such technologies in shaping power within workplaces and related opportunities for the design of workers performance appraisal systems. After a background analysis regarding the relationship between power, technology and the organization, an investigation of the use of wearable devices within organizations and their meanings with respect to issues of power follows. The chapter ends with a SWOT analysis concerning the implications of these digital tools for the design of workers performance appraisal systems, and conclusions and future research proposals drawn.
... Countries worldwide are implementing Information Systems (IS) to reform their public sector (e.g. Avgerou and McGrath 2007;Bloomfield and Hayes 2009;Ciborra 2005;Butler and McGovern 2012;Cordella and Iannacci 2010;Sadiq et al. 2012;Papazafeiropoulou and Spanaki 2016). ...
Article
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This study contributes to the literature on Information Systems (IS) implementation and provides insights into how IS implementation emerges as an assemblage constituted by diverse sociomaterial practices –that is, the intertwining of humans and technology in practice– during the implementation of Greece’s Yearly Property Tax policy and information system over the period 1997–2015. Drawing on the work of Deleuze, Guattari, and Delanda on ‘assemblage theory’ and Burke’s on motive (expressed as ‘intentionality’ and ‘motivation’) we discuss IS implementation as a performative process that is shaped by assemblage agents’ intentionality and motivation and conclude that explicitly attending to these dynamics during the emergence of policy and technology as a sociomaterial assemblage contributes to a better understanding of IS implementation and its success. We propose that higher levels of motivation and intentionality are related to higher chances of successful implementation. Finally, limitations and future research directions are proposed.
... This encompasses interpretations of the shifting nature of life inside organizations but also the increasingly fluid interactions between them. It is a genuinely interdisciplinary trend, as scholars from fields as diverse as management, sociology, political science, information science, and communication have become increasingly preoccupied with explaining the dialectical co-presence or the integration of a huge range of variables, such as: hierarchical and networked modes of coordination (Fimreite & Laegreid, 2009); elite control and individual autonomy (Clegg & Courpasson, 2004;Courpasson & Dany, 2003;Hodgson, 2004); centralization and decentralization (Ashcraft, 2001(Ashcraft, , 2006; technological artifacts and organizational norms and routines (Bloomfield & Hayes, 2009); voluntarism and directive planning (Langlois & Garzarelli, 2008;Shah, 2006); bureaucratic and market-based interorganizational and intraorganizational relationships (Bruce & Jordan, 2007;Foss, 2003); formal and informal divisions of labor (Ashcraft, 2001(Ashcraft, , 2006; expertise and lay knowledge (Bjørkan & Qvenild, 2010;D. Scott & Barnett, 2009); rationality and affect (Ashcraft, 2001) online and offline mobilization repertoires (Chadwick, 2007;Goss & Heaney, 2010) "entrepreneurial" and "institutional" modes of engagement (Bimber, et al., 2009); "protest" and "civic" forms of collective action (Sampson, et al., 2005); "alternative" and commercial models of news production (Kim & Hamilton, 2006); advertising-funded and state-regulated broadcasting (Born, 2003); institutional isomorphism and individuation (Pedersen & Dobbin, 2006); and "Americanized" election campaigning styles and nationally-specific approaches (de la Torre & Conaghan, 2009;Nord, 2006;Plasser & Plasser, 2002). ...
... The consequential networking and cooperation are expected to have a transformative impact, albeit the term transformation is being used manifoldly in the e-government context (e.g. [Zu05]; [BH09] change organizational processes and practices; moreover it alters the relationships and behavior of the actors involved and thereby changes the model of publicm anagement itself (second tier) [O'N09]. This perspective enables for instance the separation of public services into parts which are conducted in the front office, where public services are delivered, andt he back office, where they are produced. ...
Conference Paper
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The term e-government stands for an ICT enabled transformation of the public sector. New forms of collaboration and inter-organisational public service networks become feasible, to fulfil public tasks more efficiently and effectively. Even though e-government is being promoted by the EU, tangible results are rather scarce. The European Commission and the EU member countries therefore strive for a more coherent development of e-government within the EU. Nevertheless, it’s being implemented very differently in the EU member countries. One reason for this diverse development seems to be that different competences for the personnel of public administrations are associated with e-government in the EU member countries. This article describes the first steps of the development of an e-government competence framework. This framework is initially being developed in the COMPATeGov project with public administrations from Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, and Romania. The article sums up the first results of a literature review on e-government competences, a survey, and focus group workshops. It outlines a first set of e-government competences and concludes with a forecast of the next steps in the project, in order to validate and facilitate the results.
... Overall eGovernment promised a citizen-centric approach that would bring huge savings and a better integration of public sector bodies by overcoming siloed organisational structures (cf. Bloomfield and Hayes 2009;Ahn 2012;Millard 2010;Rowley 2011). Across the Global North, eGovernment became mainly associated with online services such as driver licence renewal and income tax filing (cf. ...
Chapter
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This chapter attends to how the concept of “communities of practice” (Lave and Wenger, Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation, learning in doing. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1991) has been taken up by managers and policy makers in trans-local contexts. Although the concept was developed for co-located communities, it was transferred to distributed settings. In such settings, the sharing of practices is not necessarily active, and the performance of community not necessarily tied to their sharing. Some of the ambiguities of the original concept became problematic. The chapter is based on two vignettes that demonstrate how community is understood by policy makers and managers as a form of organisation that needs to be cultivated and coordinated. Continuing on the success of “communities of practice”, a focus of such striving became the sharing of experiences (and “good practices”) in order to foster community building. In a trans-local context, this meant—for the actors responsible for building community—a focus on how practices may be shared actively. One answer to this challenge was to describe local practices in standardised templates. However, different ways of organising the sharing of knowledge objects (e.g. who are the actors that define the structure of templates or how do they determine what counts as ‘good practice’) resulted in different forms of communality.
... There has also been something of a recent turn toward qualitative methods in e-government research. Borins's call for "research methodologies to look inside the organizational black box" (Borins, 2004, p. 6) is clearly beginning to have an influence (Bloomfield & Hayes, 2009;Contini & Lanzara, 2009;Fedorowicz, Gelinas, Gogan, & Williams, 2009;Ford & Murphy, 2008;Hardy & Williams, 2008;Ho & Ni, 2004;Kim, Kim, & Lee, 2009;Lee & Kim, 2007;Marston, 2006;Mundkur & Venkatesh, 2009;Tsai, Choi, & Perry, 2009;Wood, Bernt, & Ting, 2009). It would therefore be inaccurate to suggest that insider research strategies are entirely absent from the field. ...
Article
This article presents an exploratory case study based on fieldwork consisting of in-depth, semistructured interviews and group discussions with administrative, legal, political, and tech-nology staff involved in an online citizen engagement initiative in "TechCounty," a pseudonymous U.S. local government authority operating in one of the most favorable sociodemographic and technologi-cal contexts imaginable. In contrast with many of the dominant approaches in the literature, the article reveals how a rich, complex, and sometimes surprising array of internal institutional variables explains the initiative's failure. The article highlights the fragile and uncertain adoption of online engagement by public organizations and the significance of this study's method for building theory and guiding future research.
... The exemplars, best practices concepts, and managerial values, which underpin much e-government activity, arrive through institutional carriers. These include the management consultants who are ubiquitous in e-government projects (Avgerou, 2002;Bloomfield & Hayes, 2009;Czarniawska, 2009). As institutional carriers, they work to introduce new perspectives and values from the global practice base and exemplar systems. ...
Article
The paper explores the implementation of public sector information systems in a relatively atypical context, which is the rapidly developing city of Dubai. The paper specifically addresses the interactions between public and private sector teams in a large public sector organization in Dubai as they collaborate to complete an e‐government project within a short timeframe. The paper employs a framework that consists of institutional logics and concepts from the theory of trading zones to examine this exchange of ideas and artifacts between the two teams. Trading zones are conceptualized as embedded within wider institutional arrangements. The paper explores the trading activities between the teams as institutional enactments that come to shape e‐government outcomes in terms of roles and norms of the public sector staff. This reveals specific insights into how e‐government projects are locally enacted and how these shape the roles of public sector staff as contributors to city development. Overall, the paper argues that these engagements between public sector staff and contracted private sector consultants and vendors lead to the exchange of new knowledge, ideas, and artifacts that reproduce and reframe the sociocultural roles of public sector staff to fit with the new organizational context.
... Modernization through e-government has now become a central feature of public sector reform (Chadwick & May, 2003; Ciborra, 2005; Cordella, 2007; Gasco, 2005; Gualmini, 2008; Liou, 2008; Mullen, 2005; Purnendra, 2002; Tan & Pan, 2003; von Haldenwang, 2004; Yang & Rho, 2007). Typically, e-government initiatives emphasise the need to mirror the management practices and information technologies prevalent in the private sector in order to modernize public administration (Bellamy & Taylor, 1998; Bloomfield & Hayes, 2009; Ciborra, 2005; Cordella, 2007; Hoggett, 1996; Hood, 1991; Pina et al., 2007; Tan & Pan, 2003; Ventriss, 2000; Vintar et al., 2003; Yang & Rho, 2007). Much of the e-government literature adopts a technological focus (Ho, 2002; Mullen, 2005; Pina et al., 2007; Purnendra, 2002; Seyal & Pijpers, 2004; Turner & Higgs, 2003). ...
Article
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It has become common place for governments to initiate electronic-government projects in order to reform public administration. This paper seeks to explore the ways in which an e-government project, as a potential mode of reformation, is established and made to work, and then, further, to account for some of its consequences for conventional public administration. To do so we draw upon a detailed empirical study of a Greek e-government initiative, the establishment of Citizen Service Centres (CSCs). CSCs represent a significant part of Greece's e-government strategy, which has sought to modernize public administration and make the provision of public services more efficient, accessible and responsive to citizens. Drawing upon Foucault's work on power/knowledge we show that the e-government initiative is established through various technologies of power that intend to discipline public sector staff towards a particular mode of working. We also illustrate that the establishment of these modernization practices is the outcome of considerable negotiation, improvisation and enactment as different occupational groups seek to collaborate (or not) across professional and institutional boundaries. Finally, we show and argue that rather than reforming the provision of public services, such e-government based modernization projects are more likely to reproduce, in more complex ways, the long established public sector practices it sought to change.
... However, the term transformation is being used in many different ways in the e-government context (e.g. [2]; [3]). [4] defines systemic transformation as a second tier of transformation: Accordingly, the application of ICT goes beyond the mere instrumental use of ICT (first tier), but implies profound institutional change. ...
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One key aspect of e-government is its potential for an ICT enabled transformation of the public sector. Through ICT, new forms of collaboration and inter-organizational public service networks become feasible, making it possible to carry out the public sector’s tasks more efficiently and effectively. However, a rather significant gap exists between this transformational potential and the tangible results that have been achieved so far. One reason for this slow and cumbersome implementation seems to be that public managers lack the necessary competencies to bring the promises of e-government to fruition. This article analyzes the changing competency requirements for public managers that accompany e-government and describes the first steps in the development of an e-government competency framework for public managers. The article sums up the results of a literature review on e-government competencies, a survey carried out for the article, and data gathered in focus group workshops. Based on these results, a first set of e-government competencies is then outlined that goes beyond pure ICT skills. The article concludes with a discussion of the framework and its implications for human resource management in the public sector.
... As part of the agreement underpinning the joint venture company, the private partner agrees to fund and install new information technology (It) systems and invest in the outsourced services. the new It systems are used to support a wider program of organizational reform throughout the local authority (Bloomfield & hayes, 2009). this allows the operations of the local authority and the joint venture company to be integrated and coordinated effectively, which ensures that opposition or a lack of commitment by public sector personnel cannot easily undermine the operation of the SSP. the institutional design of an SSP is intended to create a partnership form that cannot be easily reversed, because the local authority can no longer operate independently of its private partner. ...
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Strategic Service Partnerships (SSPs) are complex Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) that have become increasingly popular amongst British local authorities. However, SSP’s remain poorly understood. The existing research on these partnerships has neglected to locate SSPs within the wider discussion of public-private partnering and has tended to describe the operations of SSPs rather than considering the process that underpins their creation. This paper considers these issues and presents an exploratory case study of the efforts of an English local authority to establish an SSP.
... But applying technology into practice and people's everyday work and life is a long term process. Bloomfield and Hayes (2009) confirm this by underlying the key concept of change is not to focus on organizational structure but rather on the concrete work practice and what people actually do within "rules of the game". Sometimes manual system in developing countries works well, even though theoretically it is not expected to be efficient (McEwen, 2001). ...
... In digital self-service systems, we argue that control and agency over the quality of the services is no longer embedded in the dyadic relationship between citizens and frontline personnel. Rather, it has become more diffuse as it has been transformed into more complex relations between citizens, the front line and the digital infrastructure (Bloomfield and Hayes 2009). This digital infrastructure not only involves material equipment and interfaces, but also a broader institutional field consisting, among others, of system developers, web designers and public technocrats, each of which is likely to interpret and influence the infrastructure in different ways (Orlikowski and Gash 1994). ...
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We examine in this article the impact of digitization on the provision of public services by studying how citizens experience the use of web portals in their pension planning. Based on focus groups and user test material, we elucidate five critical phases that each operate as an obstacle for citizens' further engagement in the digital self-service process: interest, access, comprehension, reflection and support. We argue that these phases and the obstacles they entail illustrate a transition away from a situation in which control and agency over the quality of public services is embedded in a dyadic relationship between citizens and frontline personnel, and to a situation characterized by more complex relations between citizens, the front line, and the digital infrastructure. We argue that this transition implies that citizens are required to possess a new type of competence that contains both financial and digital skills. Citizens who are unable to develop or acquire such competence are likely to be disadvantaged by the services. Lastly, we argue that these developments pose significant challenges for public administrations to ensure the overall quality of the public services.
... Examples of governments adopting business models and enterprise applications aiming at elevating efficiency in service delivery include approaches such as business process reengineering (BPR) and total quality management, and information systems like customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning.(Bloomfield and Hayes 2009;Thong et al. 2000). ...
... But e-government is an important component of today's reform agendas because it: 1) serves as a tool for reform; 2) renews interest in public management reform; 3) highlights internal inconsistencies; 4) underscores commitment to good governance objectives. (OECD, 2003, p. 41) IS research has often discussed e-government projects associated with NPM reforms in a critical way, pointing out the prevailing ideological preferences that underpin them (Bloomfield & Hayes, 2009;Cordella & Iannaci, 2010). ...
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We develop a perspective of IT innovation in the public sector as a process that involves three complementary areas of ideology and concomitant dispute: first, the widespread view of e‐government as a transformative force that leads to major improvements of public sector functions for the benefit of society at large; second, ideologies concerning the substantive policies enacted by public sector organizations; and third, ideology regarding public sector modernization. Our research examines how the objectives of IT projects and their actual effects in government are influenced by such ideologies and contestations that surround them. We develop our theoretical contribution with a critical discourse analysis that traces the ideological underpinnings of two consecutive IT projects for the administration of international trade in Mexico. This analysis associates the objectives of the IT projects with the emergence and ensuing contestation in Mexican politics of two ideologies: the first ideology concerns free international trade as imperative for economic development; the second ideology concerns public sector modernization that sought to overcome historically formed dysfunctionalities of public administration bureaucracies by adopting management practices from the private sector. The analysis then identifies the effects of the ideologically shaped IT projects on two key values of public administration: efficiency and legality. The insights of this research on the role of ideology in IT innovation complement organizational perspectives of e‐government; socio‐cognitive perspectives that focus on ideas and meaning, such as technology frames and organizing visions; and perspectives that focus on politics in IT innovation.
... Nonetheless, the logic behind such initiatives must be challenged. Bloomfijield and Hayes (2009) point to e-government initiatives as an extension of privatization and rationalization effforts, even if they are not yet recognized as such by some of the institutions involved; thus, although the customer is often highlighted as the benefijiciary of such projects, they might also result in a decrease in services and more regimented roles for employees. ...
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This paper seeks to understand the role of the Internet and information and communications technology (ICT) in potential democratic movements. We propose an ecological model of technological development and democratization which recognizes that change can occur (1) at individual as well as social levels; (2) on a continuum from oppression to freedom; and (3) in multiple social spheres. Using case studies from China, we suggest that ICT might facilitate democracy on account of its potential transformations and efficiencies in terms of individuals' relationships to knowledge and information; governments; persons, groups, and nongovernmental organizations; and work and traditional social roles.
... With respect to the former, moderating factors include the firm's industry and its competitors (Gordon et al., 2000;Park, Westphal, & Stern, 2011). With respect to the latter, scholars have included the firm's aspiration level (Chang, 1996;Greve, 2002;Lant & Mezias, 1992;Park, 2007), its capacity to change (Álvarez & Meríno, 2003;Barker III & Duhaime, 1997;Chang, 1996;Chittoor, Sarkar, Ray, & Aulakh, 2009;Dawley et al., 2002;Huff, Huff, & Thomas, 1992;Kraatz & Zajac, 2001), and its internal power distribution (Bloomfield & Hayes, 2009;Lawrence, Malhotra, & Morris, 2012;Zhang, 2006). If performance is poor, a chief operating officer (COO) can challenge the CEO's power because, for example, the firm is not aligned with the environment. ...
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In ever-changing environments, strategic change manifests as a crucial concern for firms and is thus central to the fields of management and strategy. Common and foundational to all strategic change research is time—whether recognized in the extant studies or not. In this article, we thus critically review the existing body of knowledge through a time lens. We organize this review along (1) conceptions of time in strategic change, (2) time and strategic change activities, and (3) time and strategic change agents. This approach facilitates our assessment of what scholars do and do not know about strategic change, especially its temporal components. Our review particularly revealed a need to advance scholarly understanding about the processual dynamics of strategic change. We thus extend our assessment by proposing six pathways for advancing future research on strategic change that aim at fostering an understanding of its processual dynamics: (1) temporality, (2) actors, (3) emotionality, (4) tools and practices, (5) complexity, and (6) tensions.
... The view of digital transformation as a hybrid form is in line with the propositions put forward by Bloomfield and Hayes [12]: that issues of power and hybridity are involved in the enactment of e-government and the new organizational configurations ('front office' contact centres and 'back office' service departments) to handle citizen inquiries. Some of the hybrid forms correspond to what Fountain [4] label virtual agencies, others remain physical offices with heavy back office computing but no or limited change for the citizens in terms of communication form, place, accessibility, or accountability. ...
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This chapter proposes a reorientation of the e-government maturity models by focusing on the activities rather than on the formal organizational structures and have the citizens as the key stakeholder for future e-government investments. We draw upon a discussion on the limitations of the popular e-government maturity model by Layne and Lee [1] included in the proposal of the Public Sector Process Rebuilding (PPR) model [2, 3]. The adoption and adaptation of Web 2.0 platforms and location-based services, and the parallel extension of conventional technologies as SMS and web-based self-services, challenge the view that e-government is focused in a formal organizational span of control. We propose a refined operationalization of the PPR maturity model, arguing that the activities and individual workers within the public sector and the citizens using and co-producing the public services will be the vehicle of change.
Chapter
Die digitale Transformation der Verwaltung schreitet weltweit voran, jedoch mit sehr unterschiedlichen Ausprägungen. Erste tief greifendere Veränderungen sind durchaus sichtbar (Transformation). Insbesondere kleinere EU-Länder scheinen bei der Umsetzung einen strukturellen Vorteil zu haben, weil der ebenenübergreifende Kooperationsaufwand geringer ist. Angelsächsische Länder können in vielen Aspekten der Digitalisierung als Vorreiter gesehen werden, wenngleich andere Länder auf- und (je nach Perspektive) überholen.
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This paper examines critically the changes taking place in the e-development sector, and, specifically, investigates the ways in which private sector information and communication technology (ICT)-led organizations may be implicated in shaping such changes. We report on a research into a multi-national ICT consultancy company which is developing their own offering in the domain of value management and performance management for the development sector. We situate this initiative within the development literature that has charted the changing role of donors and non-government organizations (NGOs). Drawing on actor–network theory, we argue that, with the deployment of value management techniques, upstream donors are becoming a more central feature of NGOs’ preoccupations and activities. We provide an in-depth analysis of the renegotiation of the e-development network, and argue that e-development can be understood as a hybrid practice. The paper concludes with implications and suggestions for further research.
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Purpose The paper explores the implications of e-government for horizontal/social accountability (to citizens) by looking into its shifting location. Its main purpose is to show how the introduction of information and communication technology in the public sector changes how public sector work is organized, shifting the traditional sources of accountability, and to discuss the implications of those changes. Design/methodology/approach The study comes from desk-based research that brings together literature on electronic government and accountability studies and situates them in the context of a bureaucratic public sector. Findings It shows that e-government entails digitalization of public sector work by restructuring work, re-organizing public information and knowledge and re-orientating officials-citizens relation. It argues that in the e-government era accountability is inscribed in the technology and its embodied standards; is a horizontal technological relation that renders officials accountable to the handling of digital interfaces and renders citizens co- producers of digital information responsible for bringing the public to account. The paper shows that these changes do not necessarily bring better or worse accountability results but change the sources of accountability bringing shifts in its locations thereby rendering it more precarious. The paper ends by discussing the implications of digital accountability for good public administration. Originality/value With the unprecedented level of attention currently being paid to 'digital government' at the moment, this is a timely article that seeks to address the accountability implications of these shifts. The study offers a practice-based, relational definition of accountability and a Weberian account of bureaucratic government, followed by an exploration of ways in which this is being challenged or replaced with a new informatization enabled/supported by new 'technologies of accountability'.
Chapter
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It is argued that long-distance control depends upon the creation of a network of passive agents (both human and non-human) which makes it possible for emissaries to circulate from the centre to the periphery in a way that maintains their durability, forcefulness and fidelity. This argument is exemplified by the empirical case of the fifteenth and sixteenth century Portuguese expansion and the reconstruction of the navigational context undertaken by the Portuguese in order to secure the global mobility and durability of their vessels. It is also suggested that three classes of emissaries - documents, devices and drilled people - have, together and separately, been particularly important for long-distance control, and that the dominance of the West since the sixteenth century may be partly explained in terms of crucial innovations in the methods by which passive agents of these three types are produced and interrelated.
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A definition of organizational form is proposed in terms of labor power, the object, means, and division of labor, and the control of labor at the organizational and institutional level. A number of typological approaches are then reviewed, focusing on the delineation of new organizational forms. The central hypothesis is that new organizational forms are emerging as a result of the transition from industrial to postindustrial capitalism. This hypothesis is elaborated by means of a number of historical and structural subhypotheses specifying the links between corporate dynamics and postbureaucratic organizational forms, the role of computer-integrated production in the internalization and replacement of external, bureaucratic rules by software, and the role of an ideology of responsiveness in service organizations and government agencies. Finally, six characteristics emphasizing the flexibility of postbureaucratic, technocratic organizational forms are examined: informalism, universalism, weak classification and framing of options, loose coupling, interdependence and networking, and the propagation of a corporate culture to counteract the centrifugal and deconstructive tendencies of structural flexibility. In contrast to the technical rationalization of work by computers, these elements of structural flexibility are seen as a form of social rationalization.
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Local government has been undergoing extensive modernisation since Labour came to power in 1997. The changes involved have focused on enhancing local democracy and improving public services. While electoral reform at the local level has been marginalised, changes in political management structures have sought to bring local government closer to people. Under the Local Government Act 2000, local authorities are required to consult their communities on whether to adopt structures involving directly-elected mayors, mayor and council managers, or cabinets and council leaders, but the process of democratic renewal appears to be stalling. More has been achieved in seeking to modernise public services, with further development of the Best Value regimes and the introduction of local Public Service Agreements. As it enters its second term, the government is focusing more on outcomes than processes and giving local authorities greater financial and administrative freedom, using a system of the rewards and incentives but achieving a balance between service delivery and local democracy remains a problem.
Article
The paper presents a critique of organizational theories that is based upon Robert Dahl’s famous definition: ‘A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do’. This definition highlights the fact that appreciating ‘power’ often demands knowledge not only about what B does but also about what B would otherwise do. Organizational theorists, it is argued, lacked such knowledge. Instead, they relied upon untested and ideologically biased assumptions concerning what B would otherwise do. Reviewing major conceptualizations of power in organizational theory, the paper unravels and categorizes six underlying assumptions of this sort. Then it goes on to promote an alternative, empirically-grounded and emically-oriented strategy for dealing with this issue. This strategy, it is argued, offers a new and less problematic research path with which to pursue the different theoretical interests in the field.
Article
The act of relating is analysed as a constitutive feature of human agency. Relating is viewed as the continuous work of connecting and disconnecting in a fluctuating network of existential events. Relating re-lates the human world as a restless scene of flowing parts in which whole, self-contained objects take second place to the continuous transmission of movement. The relating of the world of moving parts is illustrated through the examples of modern methods of mass production and the transmission of information which both produce a 'weakening of reality'.
Article
Drawing on recent theoretical developments in postcolonial research, we examine the effect of the colonial encounter on the canonization of management and organization studies (MOS) as well as the field's epistemological boundaries. In contrast to Orientalism, which is founded on a neat, binary, division between West and East, we offer (following Latour) a hybrid epistemology, which recognizes that the history of management and organizations should include the fusion between the colonizer and the colonized and their mutual effects on each other. Thus, while we discern the Orientalist assumptions embedded in the writing of management scholars, we also show that certain texts and practices that emerged during the colonial, as well as neocolonial, encounter were excluded from the field, resulting in a 'purified canon'. We conclude by arguing that hybridization between the metropole and colonies, and between western and non-western organizational entities, needs to be acknowledged by students of cultural diversity, and of critical management.
Article
This paper is a contribution to the analysis of intra-organizational trust. From a discussion of concepts of trust, we suggest that trust is something which is constructed for and by people in organizations, thereby producing some degree of predictability. Trust is a precarious social accomplishment enacted through the interplay of social or discursive structures, including those of work organizations, and individuated subjects. We argue that bureaucratic organizations effected this construction in such an efficient manner that it 'disappeared' as an issue for organizational theorists, but that shifting organizational forms have re-opened it. We suggest that the advent of corporate culturism in the 1980s offered one kind of reconfiguration of trust in organizations. However, subsequent extensions of organizational reform have undermined corporate culture as a way of constructing trust. These extensions, which, with some caveats, may be called post-bureaucratic, have brought with them new potential bases for trust, and hence control, in organizations. We explore these in two ways. First, we discuss how various types of managerial languages and techniques have the capacity to provide a global 'script' through which particular local contexts can be made sense of, and which allow possible subject positions and identities to be secured. Second, we develop this discussion with reference to two different kinds of employees whose work is in some senses post-bureaucratic: accountants and consultants in Big Five firms, and temporary workers (temps) working through agencies to provide clerical and other services. In a conclusion, we comment on the durability of post-bureaucratic modes of trust.
Article
This paper explores the complex processes of identity construction of female ethnic minority entrepreneurs. Informed by discursive approaches to identity, we make an intersectional analysis of five life stories of female entrepreneurs of Moroccan or Turkish origin in the Netherlands. Being female, Turkish or Moroccan, and entrepreneur at the same time requires various strategies to negotiate identities with different constituencies. These strategies of identity work vary in the degree of conformity: one type is to mainly adhere to conventional images of femininity, a second one is to denounce femininity and/or ethnicity situationally, and the third is to resist the masculine connotation of entrepreneurship by disconnecting it from masculinity. Our focus on this hitherto neglected group of entrepreneurs makes for a situated contribution to the deconstruction of the entrepreneurial archetype of the white male hero. It furthers the understanding of the micropolitics of identity construction in the workplace in relation to the social categories of gender, ethnicity and entrepreneurship.
Article
This paper reconsiders the usual contrast between “old” and “new” organizational forms, exploring what happens when postbureaucratic control meets bureaucratic formalization. It develops earlier work on “organized dissonance,” first, by recasting postbureaucratic practice as a hybrid of contrary forms. The paper then situates feminist bureaucracy as a usual, rather than exceptional, case of postbureaucratic practice. Through qualitative analysis, it demonstrates how members of a feminist community merged opposing forms of control to manage three tensions endemic to postbureaucratic organizing: (1) homogeneity–heterogeneity, (2) moral–instrumental aims, and (3) formalized/universal–unobtrusive/particular control. Simultaneously, the analysis models an approach to theorizing organizational forms that moves beyond stylized typologies of structural features and toward grounded frameworks that honor the dialectical texture of communication practice. Ultimately, the paper repositions feminist contributions to the study of organizational form by minimizing claims to distinctiveness, emphasizing shared interests across forms of organizing, and considering what all scholars of form might learn from feminism's rich legacy of “practicing” postbureaucracy.
Article
The label ‘modernisation’, originally coined to signify reform within the Labour Party, has since 1997 increasingly been used as a descriptor of various facets of public policy. This paper addresses three questions, all in the context of health policy. What (if anything) is the impact of the notion of modernisation on NHS medical labour process, what is its substantive content, and how might we explain its rise to prominence? On the first question, I suggest that a model of medicine (which I term ‘scientific-bureaucratic medicine’) is being developed that embodies many of the specific characteristics of Fordist labour processes. On the second question, I suggest that ‘modernisation’ denotes a philosophy towards the governance of the NHS which entails the distinctive characteristics of the project which social theorists have termed ‘modernity’. The third question has particular significance in a social context (variously termed ‘late modernity’ or ‘postmodernity’) generally thought of as characterised by trends towards postFordist labour processes. I tentatively suggest that scientific-bureaucratic medicine can be viewed as the state's (not necessarily successful) strategy for coping with radical consumerism and changing perceptions of risk and expertise in the context of health and medicine.
Article
Controversy exists regarding whether recent changes in the organization of the public services in the UK and elsewhere constitute a paradigm shift towards a post-bureaucratic form. This article argues that in Britain three fundamental but interlocking strategies of control have been implemented over the last decade. First, there has been a pronounced shift towards the creation of operationally decentralized units with a simultaneous attempt to increase centralized control over strategy and policy. Second, the principle of competition (often attached to the development of market relations but sometimes not) has become the dominant method of co-ordinating the activities of decentralized units. Third, during the most recent period there has been a substantial development of processes of performance management and monitoring (including audits, inspections, quality assessments and reviews), again a phenomenon largely directed towards operationally decentralized units. Taken together these three strategies do not describe a simple movement from a bureaucratic to a post-bureaucratic form, rather they combine strong elements of innovation with the reassertion of a number of fundamentally bureaucratic mechanisms. This may be a peculiarly British phenomenon, certainly the excessive elements of centralization and formalization appear to depart from the ideal-type of the post-bureaucratic organization. It is argued that this‘British trajectory’can best be understood in terms of the continued relative decline of the British economy and the Conservative response to it, i.e. the drive to create a‘high output, low commitment’workforce.
Article
This article addresses the conceptualization of power in relation to the use of computers in organizations. Commonly held views that the application of computer based information systems leads to either a centralization or a decentralization of power and control, or that computers merely reinforce the power of dominant actors, are criticized, and an alternative view is put forward which focuses on the symbolic and disciplinary dimensions of the development of information systems. This perspective is then illustrated in connection with the development of management information systems in the National Health Service.
Article
This paper explores the experiences of staff working under a business process re-engineering (BPR) work regime. We examine the nature of work within a team-based, multi-skilled and empowered environment within financial services. Despite mixed responses our case study indicates that for those employees who remain in employment after ‘re-engineering’, working conditions may become more stressful and intensive. Although some staff may welcome those elements of a BPR work regime that facilitate a more varied work experience, the possibilities for satisfaction are often curtailed due to management$apos; preoccupation with productivity and ‘bottom line’ results. In practice BPR is neither as simple to implement nor as ‘rational’ in its content as the gurus would have us believe. Partly for these reasons it is also not as coercive in its control over labour as some critics fear. While managers may only want to encourage employee autonomy that is productive to its ends, we identify a number of occasions where autonomy is disruptive of corporate goals. The paper seeks to add to our understanding of ‘stress’, ‘resistance’ and management ‘control’ by considering the ways in which staff engage in the operation of BPR so as to maintain and reproduce these conditions. This dynamic cannot be understood, however, outside of the relations of power and inequality that characterize society and employment.
Chapter
Is it possible to devise a set of concepts that could replace the technology/society divide? This set of new concepts - association and substitution - might help to rephrase some of the traditional questions of social order and especially that of the durability of domination of power. However, instead of using different tools to analyse power and weakness, it is argued that power and domination are simply different values of variables that should be studied in their whole range. By reconstructing networks it is argued that a full description of power and domination may be obtained.
Article
For the past decade, project organization has become increasingly central to management and organization studies, particularly as these seek to discern the contours of post-modern organizations. Yet, these contours frequently seem to be sighted without bearings on the current realities of project management. In this paper we take such bearings, using data derived from detailed qualitative, ethnographic enquiry into the experience of project management. From this data we construct the contours of project management more sharply. Rather than being a harbinger of an autonomous and more democratic future, free from extant bureaucratic organization controls, we find that project management has distinct modalities of control that we outline in the paper: reputational, calculative, and professional. Indeed, rather than foreshadowing a future transformational form, we find traces of a much older design: that of de Tocqueville. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004.
Article
The paper focuses upon a particular discourse of organizational ‘change’ as it has appeared in a specific context—the contemporary field of public administration—and seeks to explore its role as a rhetorical device in reshaping the identity of public service. It does so first by seeking to indicate the epochalist bent of much theorizing about contemporary economic and organizational change—in both its academic and its more managerial manifestations. Second, it seeks to show how a particular discourse of organizational change mobilizes support for attempts to ‘re-invent’ or ‘modernize’ the public administration as an institution of government. Finally, it seeks to offer a few words in support of the seemingly unfashionable art of ‘piecemeal reform’ or ‘ organizational casuistry’.
Article
The explosive entry of technology into every aspect of life has changed how people live, how they work, how companies do business - and how governments serve their people, For the first time since the creation of the modern welfare state, there is now a real opportunity to 'reinvent' government. With the help of the big IT vendors, governments are realising that by applying the same principles and technologies that are fuelling the e-business revolution, they can achieve a similar transformation. They have recognised the need to change the way they do business, to provide services and information centred on the citizen. The result: the emergence of e-Government.
Article
This paper examines some of the implications associated with the growing complex-ity of the contemporary world, consequent upon the expanding economic and organizational involvement of IT-based systems and artefacts. Drawing on Luhmann, traditional forms of technological control are analyzed in terms of functional simplification and closure. Func-tional simplification involves the demarcation of an operational domain within which the complexity of the world is reconstructed as a simplified set of causal or instrumental relations. Functional closure implies the construction of a protective cocoon that is placed around the selected causal sequences to ensure their recurrent unfolding. While possible to analyze in similar terms, the involvement of large-scale information systems in organizations spin a web of technological relations throughout the organization in ways that blur the distinction be-tween technological and social relations. The traditional forms of technological control, predicated upon the premises of functional simplification and closure, are thereby challenged. These trends are further accentuated by the diffusion of the internet and the exit of technology from the secluded world of organizations into the open realm of everyday life.
Article
The introduction of Clinical Governance into the National Health Service in England represents a fundamental shift in the regulatory relationship between the state and medical professionals. This paper critically examines the underlying assumptions of Clinical Governance, and discusses them in relation to Foucauldian concepts of 'governmentality'. First, official definitions of Clinical Governance are reviewed in the context of other policies to apply increased control and surveillance to medical professionals and linkages between this and wider tends in public sector managerialism and governance. The paper then briefly considers these developments in relation to theoretical accounts of bureaucracy, professionalism, risk and trust. It is argued that at the organisational level, Clinical Governance can be usefully analysed as involving a move towards 'encoded knowledge' through the use of 'soft bureaucracy'.
Article
This essay addresses the implications of accounting and hybrids for the management of risk. We argue firstly and most generally for a definition of hybrids that extends beyond organisational forms. The existing literature, we suggest, has been too focused on organisational forms, and has largely neglected the hybrid practices, processes and expertises that make possible lateral information flows and coordination across the boundaries of organisations, firms, and groups of experts or professionals. Secondly, we argue that the management of organisations is rapidly being transformed into and formalised around the management of risk, while much of the management of uncertainty occurs through a variety of hybrids that reside beyond the formalised practices of risk management. Thirdly, we argue that accounting practices are central to these issues, in so far as accounting is constantly engaged in a dual hybridisation process, seeking to make visible and calculable the hybrids that it encounters, while at the same time hybridising itself through encounters with a range of other disciplines. We address these issues in three main stages. The first section considers the 'discovery' of hybrid organisational forms by researchers on management and organisations over the course of more than two decades. The second section examines the ways in which economists, lawyers and other social scientists have considered the issue of hybrids. Here, the preoccupation with hybrid organisational forms largely continues, with its attendant neglect of hybrid practices, processes and expertises. The third section considers the discovery of a wider range of hybrids by researchers in accounting, and examines two specific arenas in which the hybridising of accounting expertise has been central: the microprocessor industry, and the various encounters between medical and financial expertise in the context of the 'New Public Management' reforms. The essay concludes with a discussion of the implications of this broader definition of hybrids for accounting and the management of risk.
Article
Since 1997, local government in the United Kingdom has found itself at the sharp end of an ambitious programme of potentially far-reaching reforms known collectively as the 'local government modernisation agenda' (LGMA). These initiatives are intended to promote 'joined-up government' and holistic service delivery -- two of the hallmarks of New Labour's approach to public service improvement. To date there has been very little analysis of the ways in which local authorities are approaching this task at a corporate level. The authors examine the theory and practice of joining up policymaking and service delivery in local government. They draw upon an analysis of the perspectives of key actors involved in the formulation and implementation of current local government reforms at the national level and the experiences of a sample of authorities that have been among the most active in seeking to integrate the various elements of the LGMA at local level. The evidence suggests that the superficially attractive logic of more integrated policymaking and service provision, which runs so strongly through current reforms, belies the multidimensional nature of joined-up working. The presentation of the LGMA as a coherent package of reforms therefore disguises the degree to which different forms of joining up may conflict. In particular, the push for closer vertical integration between local and central government, with ever-tighter control being exerted from the centre over priorities and performance, is seen as constraining progress towards more effective horizontal joined-up working at a local level.
Local government: Managerialism and modernization' in New managerialism
  • Allan Cochrane
Foucault, power, resistance and all that' in Resistance and Power in
  • David Knights
  • Theo Vurdubakis
  • Martin Harris
  • Harro M Höpfl