Electronic Engagement

Electronic Engagement: A Guide for Public Sector Managers

Peter Chen
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Electronic Engagement
    Book Description:

    Over the last twenty years, advanced communication technologies have become pervasive throughout Western society. These technologies have not only revolutionised the delivery of public and private services, they have shaped consumers' expectations about service quality. This guide (written for managers who have an interest in expanding their approach to public engagement, rather than IT professionals) assesses the value that new communications and computing technology can bring to interactions with a range of potential stakeholders. An engaging, provocative and thorough survey of available technologies and potential applications, this is a 'must read' for policy and program practitioners who are considering options for electronic engagement.  

    eISBN: 978-1-921313-10-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)
    John Wanna

    In this monograph, Peter Chen has successfully performed a difficult balancing act by producing a coherent and comprehensive guide that is well grounded both conceptually and theoretically. Peter’s task was made the more difficult by the fact that he is also writing about concepts that are highly contested, such as ‘public value’ or ‘social capital’. Moreover, the policy and social landscape he traverses is continually evolving and shifting, driven by successive waves of emerging technologies and societal adaptations to technology-enabled communication.

    Australians are enthusiastic adopters of mature technologies. It was once said, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, that...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. About the Author
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. 1. Introduction: An Information Age Democracy?
    (pp. 1-10)

    Over the past 20 years, advances in information technology have had a significant impact on most societies. The scale of these impacts have been most profound in the developed world and have dramatically changed the way business is done in countries like Australia and New Zealand, which have something of a reputation as ‘early adopters’ of new technologies.

    The ubiquity of communication and information technologies has significant implications for the ways in which the public sector conducts its business. The adoption of new technologies allows improvements in the delivery of public services, as well as the manner in which the...

  8. 2. Definitions, Distinctions and Approaches to eEngagement
    (pp. 11-34)

    When developing a management approach for eEngagement, one of the most common barriers faced by public sector managers in New Zealand and Australia is the wide array of competing, contested and conflicting definitions employed to describe it.

    Even an increasingly common term like ‘electronic democracy’ evokes an array of responses, from highly specific definitions (such as voting over the internet) to nebulous concepts (an information environment which is open, participative and free to access). These terms can be loaded and be a vehicle for a variety of implicit assumptions and norms, particularly around issues of direct democracy.

    This emerging area...

  9. 3. Designing the Right Approach
    (pp. 35-54)

    While the great advantage of eEngagement is the wide array of approaches that can be applied to resolving policy and participation issues, the disadvantage of this flexibility lies in the difficulty of determining an appropriate approach at the outset of project initiation.

    Technologies like the World Wide Web draw their power from the vast array of applications to which the basic technology can be applied. However, the very strength of this technology can lead to ‘option paralysis’. In such cases, determining an appropriate model or program design from the existing case examples, or choosing from the vast array of potential...

  10. 4. Implementation
    (pp. 55-78)

    Having developed an approach for the eEngagement, the implementation phase represents the realisation of this vision. Often, this will require stakeholder input – across government and outside of it – and necessary adjustments to the initial plan in the light of unforseen eventualities. In this way, implementation is just like any other process for project delivery.

    Rather than provide a summary of issues associated with standard project implementation and management issues, this section (and the later discussion of post-implementation issues) focuses on aspects of specific, or particular, relevance to the manager engaged in eEngagement activities.

    The first step in successful realisation of...

  11. 5. Concluding the Process
    (pp. 79-88)

    One of the most significant issues in developing an effective eEngagement process is careful planning of the post-implementation activities for the project. This has two elements:

    developing an appropriate and robust approach to meaningful evaluation, particularly when there is a need to justify the activity in a highly rational (budgetary-focused) operational environment – an increasingly common concern; and

    developing an effective closeout process.

    There is little need to reiterate the importance of evaluation in the public sector. Calls for discussion of debate around and methodological experimentation with evaluation have been hallmarks of public sector management reforms for the past decade. Any...

  12. Further Reading
    (pp. 89-92)
  13. Appendix A. Policy Cycle Engagement Model
    (pp. 93-94)
  14. Appendix B. Catalogue of eEngagement Models
    (pp. 95-104)