Together with Yiwei Gong and John Bertot, I edited a special issue for Government Information Quarterly on agile government. For our introduction, we conducted a systematic literature review of articles published on the subject during the last decades and provided guidance for future research.
Governments need to adapt to changes in their internal and external environments and create systems that allow them to scan trends, identify developments, predict their potential impact on the organization, and quickly learn how to implement changes to their standard operating procedures. As a response, government organizations are adopting agile approaches as part of their process redesigns, project management, and software development approaches. Although agility and adaptiveness are long in use in the private sector, they have been increasingly adopted in the public sector literature and practices. In order to understand the existing theoretical and practical foundations of the field, we have conducted a systematic literature review and identified four streams of research areas:
(1) software development approaches,
(2) project management approaches,
(3) application areas, and
(4) potential outcomes.
In this article, we synthesize this literature, provide an outlook on future research questions, and introduce several articles as part of the current special issue focused on agile government.
We included four articles in the special issue that focus on different themes of agile governments:
- Hong and Lee’s (2018) article provides evidence of how regulation and decentralization impacts adaptive governance. The authors argue that decentralization of governance can hinder the process of adaptation in the sharing economy, especially if the considered policy embodies entrepreneurial politics.
- Wang, Medaglia, and Zheng’s (2018) article investigates adaptive governance in the context of digital government where new forms of collaborative governance are needed to rapidly adapt to changes in the internal and external environments.
- Soe and Drechsler (2018) discuss how local governments collaborate for joint service provision, be more adaptive toward new technological and organizational changes, and introduce innovative services following industry trends such as predictive analytics, autonomous vehicles, and artificial intelligence.
- Chatfield and Reddick (2018) show how a U.S. city government’s use of big data analytics enhances customer agility in 311 on-demand services.
Reference: Mergel, I., Gong, Y., Bertot, J. (2018): Agile government: Systematic literature review and future research, in: Government Information Quarterly, 35(2):291-298.