Re-locating accountability through technology: from bureaucratic to electronic ways of governing public sector work

Petrakaki, Dimitra (2017) Re-locating accountability through technology: from bureaucratic to electronic ways of governing public sector work. International Journal of Public Sector Management. ISSN 0951-3558

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Abstract

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, reorganizing 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.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Depositing User: Dimitra Petrakaki
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2017 08:24
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2017 15:53
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/69225

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