What public servants really think of e-government

J. Norman Baldwin, Robin Gauld, Shaun Goldfinch

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing on 240 completed web surveys from six New Zealand core government agencies, and using qualitative and quantitative measures, we investigate public servants' views on three aspects of e-government, situated within an overarching rhetoric of 'transformation'. First, the degree to which e-government is supporting 'joined-up' government is assessed. Second, we canvas views as to what degree e-government measures are promoting new ways of working for public servants such as flexible work. Third, we seek public servant views on whether e-government measures are allowing greater 'e-participation' from the public. We find that public servants exhibit considerable nuance in their views on e-government, including some scepticism towards its role in increasing flexible work, in 'joining-up' government, and in increasing citizen participation in policy making. The vagueness of transformational rhetoric is highlighted. We suggest the more considered views of public servants on the costs, as well as the benefits, of e-government, provide a useful antidote to much heated rhetoric and 'dangerous enthusiasms' exhibited towards e-government across the world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-127
Number of pages23
JournalPublic Management Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • E-government
  • ICT
  • New Zealand
  • public administration
  • reform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration


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