By Rajesh Kumar Shakya, Ph.D. Student (DPA)
The debate on e-government for public administration mostly revolves around focusing on its functions of service delivery, information management, and use of technology. But public administration extends far beyond that. Public administrators need a broader public administration system approach towards e-government that surpasses the technocratic emphasis, and blend seamlessly for the full benefits of e-government in all areas of public administration. Public administration system approach helps the governments to escape from the technology dilemma that currently dominates e-government. E-government is a necessity for the countries aiming for better governance. Governance extends beyond government enclave, to civil society and the private enterprises. It applies to all entities from individual family to the state. So the e-governance should embrace the potential of exercising political, social, economic, and administrative processes and govern the whole matters.
E-government should be used in both the functionaries and governance aspects of the public administration transforming into cross-cutting e-Administration, which broadens the values of public administration. We should enrich public administration through e-government exploiting the immense possibilities it offers. Also, if we stick the use of e-government only for the information management, it will challenge the fundamental essence of public administration. Under the public administration system approach, e-government requires public agencies to harmonize their vision, resources and infrastructure, to integrate governance processes and interoperate in sync for the operation of government machinery, and providing services to its beneficiaries.
In particular, the integration potential offered by the e-government allows the possibility to transform government machinery, operation processes and improve the quality of government services – improve the managerial effectiveness, promotion of democratic mechanisms, and operational efficiency of public services. It helps to transform the traditional siloed operation, and processes to interconnected, interoperable, participative, and synchronized governance processes. Embracing the e-government paradigm by the governments is possible only if it treats the e-government as a holistic government transformation, not a technical adaptation; and challenges the traditional legacy, perceptions, and values.
[Rajesh Kumar Shakya is the practitioner e-Government and e-Government Procurement Consultant for different governments in Asia, Europe, and Africa. More issues, aspects, and practices in e-government around the world will be discussed in his future posts.]