Research

My research focuses on the adoption of social technologies in the public sector. I am specifically interested in how government agencies decide to adopt new technologies, what adoption pathways they chose, what the organizational, cultural and managerial challenges are and how other government agencies’ actions influence adoption decision processes.

For this project, I interviewed the social media director in the executive branch of the U.S. Government who received the mandate via the Transparency and Open Government memo to “harness new technologies” to become more transparent, collaborative and participatory. I conduct ongoing participatory observations of government agencies’ online behavior since 2009.

The starting point for my social media research is anoutlook on how Web 2.0 will change the public sector for the 2008 Minnowbrook III conference, (published in 2011).

In 2011, I wrote a piece together with my colleague Stuart Bretschneider defining Government 2.0 as the fifth wave of e-Government.

In the same year, I received the George Frederickson PA Times Best Paper award for my paper on social media strategies in the public sector.

Together with my co-authors, I published a piece on how PA scholarship can adopt social media applications to fascinate knowledge sharing in form of Open Public Administration Scholarship in J-Part (2011).

In 2012, I wrote two books based on my research: Social media in the public sector: A guide to participation, collaboration and transparency in the networked world and together with my co-author Bill Greeves, CIO of Wake County: Social media in the public sector field guide: Designing and implementing strategies and policies.

IBM’s Center for the Business of Government published a special report in June 2012: A manager’s guide to designing a social media strategy.

  • Measuring social media impact in the public sector: I received a grant to study the managerial and administrative processes of impact measurement of social media use among government agencies. My previous research has shown that government actors are mainly focusing on quantitative measures, such as number of followers, number of retweets, number of likes, etc. as an indicator for a successful social media presence. Existing rules and regulations hinder a deeper and more appropriate analysis of social impact, awareness creation, and networking. While some of the regulations, such as the cookie policy were recently abandoned, use of metrics is in its infancy. I am planning to design metrics and performance indicators that help government agencies understand if their use of social media is truly making their work more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.
  • Open innovation platforms in the public sector: In this project I am looking at innovative ideation processes and open innovation platforms to understand knowledge incubation in the public sector. Among them is Challenge.gov – an ideation platform launched by GSA to help agencies run their own contests and prizes. I recently published a PA Times paper on the topic and am preparing my research for journal publication.
  • Wikis in the public sector: The goal of this project is to understand how agencies are adopting collaborative technologies for intra- and inter-organizational collaboration as well as how they use them to include citizens into content co-creation processes. The research includes 10 cases on the federal, state and local level. A first report was published by IBM – The Center for the Business of Government.

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