Governments around the world have to respond faster to citizen needs, like the expectation of 24/7 availability and personalized access to government services generated by the so-called ‘Facebook generation’. Seamless user-centric experiences on social networking suites, such as Weibo or Twitter, as well as online marketplaces such as Amazon, increase the demand for similar experiences with government services. In addition, industry trends, such as Big Data, predictive analytics methods, and Smart City approaches drive the need to create internal capacity and skill sets to evaluate, respond to, and implement new technologies and internal processes.
The previous new public management era has left many government organizations with a reduced skill set and limited capacity to upgrade their IT infrastructure. As a result, their capability to innovate has been deteriorated due to increasing incentives to outsource especially IT development and services. The HealthCare.gov rollout disaster in the U.S. was a clear indication that the role of information management experts in government is oftentimes limited to contract management tasks, such as planning and oversight. One response from government organizations is to create internal innovation labs, organize hackathons, hire Chief Innovation Officers, or try to recruit industry expertise into government.
We observe first organizational, structural, managerial, procedural, and technological changes to address the changing internal and external environments of government organizations. As an example, the UK and US governments have adopted new organizational structures in form digital services teams that are able to respond faster to ad hoc needs of their internal government clients. They have adopted an agile government approach designing software in a more information- and user-centric way that is standard in the IT industry. Once software is developed, it is shared widely across all levels of government and no longer siloed in one department. In addition, governments need to adapt to changes in their internal and external environments and create systems that allow them to scan trends and identify developments, predict their potential impact on the organization, and quickly learn and implement responses (Gong & Janssen, 2012).
This special issue therefore invites papers that address open research questions that were posed in two recent Viewpoint pieces in Government Information Quarterly by Janssen & Van den Voort (2016) on adaptive governance and by Mergel (in press) on agile government. Adaptive governance should ensure that an organization is able to deal with the changes, while protecting it from becoming unstable. The main characteristics of adaptive governance are decentralized bottom-up decision-making, efforts to mobilize internal and external capabilities, wider participation to spot and internalize developments, and continuous adjustment to deal with uncertainty (Janssen & Van den Voort, 2016). An agile government introduces user-centric software development approaches implemented together with agency-based project managers to shorten the implementation cycle, improve the outcomes of IT projects, and make sure that user needs are considered (Mergel in press).
For this special issue, we welcome conceptual, empirical, qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods research papers. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Conceptualization of agile government and adaptive governance, implication, benefits and theory building;
- Specific or distinguishable agile software development approaches for governmental organization and/or digital public service;
- Agile software development project management (e.g. Scrum method) in governmental contexts;
- The impact of applying agile government or adaptive governance on the culture, organizational structure, business processes and individual behaviors;
- The impact of agile government and adaptive governance on policy-making processes, including information acquisition, negotiation, policy formulation, evaluation and examination;
- Information sharing and organizational learning in agile government and adaptive governance environments;
- Adaptation at different levels, traceability and accountability in agile government and adaptive governance projects;
- Principles and approaches to enable/increase adaptability;
- Coordination/mediation mechanisms in adaptive governance;
- Pros and cons of adaptability, barriers and drivers, challenges and opportunities, balance between adaptability, stability, and accountability;
- In-depth and comparative case studies of agile government and adaptive governance in public sector; and
- Whether, and how, agile development approaches lead to user-centric digital government services, processes, and applications.
Special Issue Guest Editors:
- Ines Mergel, University of Konstanz, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Yiwei Gong, School of Information Management at Wuhan University, contact: email@example.com
- John Bertot, iSchool at University of Maryland, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Issue Format
Each submission is subject to a rigorous double-blind peer review process with at least two independent reviewers. Authors can contact the guest editors for additional information.
The deadline for manuscript submission: January 1, 2017
Gong, Y., & Janssen, M. (2012). From policy implementation to business process management: Principles for creating flexibility and agility. Government Information Quarterly, 29(Supplement 1), 61-71.
Janssen, M., Van de Voort, H. (2016): Adaptive governance: Towards a stable, accountable and responsive government. Government Information Quarterly, 33(1), 1-5.
Mergel, I. (in press 2016): Agile innovation management in government: A research agenda. Government Information Quarterly, 33(3), 516-523.