Social media applications are slowly diffusing across all levels of government. The organizational dynamics underlying adoption and use decisions follow a process similar to that for previous waves of new information and communication technologies. The authors suggest that the organizational diffusion of these types of new information and communication technologies, initially aimed at individual use and available through markets, including social media applications, follows a three-stage process. First, agencies experiment informally with social media outside of accepted technology use policies. Next, order evolves from the first chaotic stage as government organizations recognize the need to draft norms and regulations. Finally, organizational institutions evolve that clearly outline appropriate behavior, types of interactions, and new modes of communication that subsequently are formalized in social media strategies and policies. For each of the stages, the authors provide examples and a set of propositions to guide future research.
Albert Meijer, Frank Bannister and Marcel Thaens edited a special issue of “Information Polity” with the topic “ICT, Public Administration and Democracy in the Coming Decade”. They put together a tremendous group of international e-Government researchers and today the special issue was posted online. The articles included in the special issue include:
My own article focuses on the innovation challenges government agencies are facing when they are implementing social media:
Abstract: The use of social media applications has been widely accepted in the U.S. government. Many of the social media strategies and day-to-day tactics have also been adopted around the world as part of local Open Government Initiatives and the worldwide Open Government Partnership. Nevertheless, the acceptance and broader adoption of sophisticated tactics that go beyond information and education paradigm such as true engagement or networking strategies are still in its infancy. Rapid diffusion is challenged by informal bottom-up experimentation that meets institutional and organizational challenges hindering innovative tactics. Going forward governments and bureaucratic organizations are also facing the challenge to show the impact of their social media interactions. Each of these challenges is discussed in this article and extraordinary examples, that are not widely adopted yet, are provided to show how government organizations can potentially overcome these challenges.
Today, President Obama published a new presidential memo building on the efforts of the Open Government Directive he encourages departments and agencies to save money by providing government records in digital format – instead of “paper and filing cabinets”.
We just published the following article on the diffusion and adoption of web practices among Members of Congress’ offices in the International Public Management Journal.
How do decentralized systems deal with innovation? In particular, how do they aggregate the myriad experiences of their component parts, facilitate diffusion of information, and encourage investments in innovation? This is a classic problem in the study of human institutions. It is also one of the biggest challenges that exists in the governance of decentralized systems: How do institutions shape individual behavior around solving problems and sharing information in a fashion that is reasonably compatible with collective well-being? We use a particular decentralized institution (the U.S. House of Representatives), wrestling with a novel problem (how to utilize the Internet), to explore the implications of three archetypical principles for organizing collective problem solving: market, network, and hierarchy.