Public service delivery in extraordinary times: is Covid-19 accelerating digital transformation?
The COVID-19 crisis has severe impacts on societies and economies and a threatening effect on governments’ bottom lines around the world. We can currently witness public sector organizations leapfrogging towards digital government to maintain public service delivery in extraordinary times. ICT changes the way governments supply (but also process) information, deliver public services, and interact with citizens. Only a few studies so far have investigated spontaneous diffusion processes of e-government (Zhang et al. 2014). The latter, however, would be characteristic of leapfrogging developments during crises. This paper looks at the use of ICT in public service delivery in the conservative welfare states model in Austria, a context of a relatively large public sector, and the liberal model in the U.S., a context of a smaller public sector. The analysis builds on selected ministries’ and departments’ e-government maturity before the crises (before February 2020) and during the crisis (March 2021) represented through their websites. This analysis is blended with data collected in a media analysis (articles in newspapers and magazines). Preliminary results show that ministries and departments in the U.S. and in Austria have made progress towards more digitalized services during Covid-19.
Digital transformation, e-government, digital government, Covid-19, e-services, innovation
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