E-Government and Organisation Development

O’Donnell, Orla ; Boyle, Richard

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URL http://edoc.vifapol.de/opus/volltexte/2009/1095/
Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: CPMR- Committee for Public Management Research
Schriftenreihe: CPMR discussion paper
Bandnummer: 28
ISBN: 1 904541 11 9
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2004
Publikationsdatum: 30.03.2009
Originalveröffentlichung: http://www.cpmr.gov.ie/publications/discussion-papers/ (2004)
DDC-Sachgruppe: Öffentliche Verwaltung
BK - Basisklassifikation: 88.00 (), 05.38 ()
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.7 Verwaltungswissenschaften

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

Background Ireland has performed relatively well in a number of recent e-government benchmarking exercises. However, such benchmarking surveys do not delve behind the headline figures to look at the consequent degrees of impact of information and communication technologies (ICT) on organisation development and change. This study attempts to examine some of the organisation development issues and structural changes that e-government calls for and sets in motion. The study set out to obtain a clearer understanding of e-government and organisation development; to paint a picture of the developmental stage that Ireland has reached; to compare good practice examples at different levels of government in Ireland and to point out ways in which the e-government agenda can be further shaped and advanced. This study presents an overview of the synergies between organisation change and ICT developments. It provides important insights into the way e-government is planned, implemented and evaluated at organisation level. It also gives an opportunity to examine theories of e-government progress and organisation development issues. By identifying the success factors that contribute to transformation of services into the e-environment, the study reveals important lessons for organisations that are embarking on similar processes. The main focus of the study is on how the existing organisations and networks engaged in e-government policy development and implementation can be encouraged to work towards effective organisation development and change. Executive Summary x Evidence for the study findings was obtained from three main data sources: a review of national and international documentation; a series of key informant interviews with individuals involved in developing e-government initiatives that have led to organisation development in the public sector in Ireland; and a review of a small number of e-government initiatives (case studies) which have engendered organisation change. Six public sector organisations were selected as good practice examples: the Civil Registration Service Modernisation Programme; Donegal County Council and the Integrated Service Delivery Project; the Land Registry Change Programme; the Department of Social and Family Affairs Modernisation Project; the Civil Service and Local Appointments Commission (CSLAC) Modernisation Programme; and the Collector General’s Office, Office of the Revenue Commissioners. Details of the individual case studies are outlined in Appendices 1 to 6. Ensuring organisation transformation: key factors in promoting change Information from the literature reviewed, the case studies and the key informant interviews are discussed in detail in Chapters 2 to 5. In summarising the main findings, a number of key factors are identified as crucial in ensuring that organisation change arises from the application of ICT developments. Identifying and using an overarching driver of change: creative use of a crisis and/or the modernisation agenda The case studies examined outline a number of factors that determine why and how organisation changes happen. One significant factor is the presence of an overarching driver of change that stimulates the desired changes. One such driver is the modernisation agenda in the public sector, which advocates greater efficiencies at both intra- and interorganisational levels. Another pertinent driver is reaction to a crisis, generated by such factors as outdated structures, or old technology systems which cannot cope with increasing demands on services or meet growing customer xi expectations. In some cases studied, both of these factors were catalysts of change. Change agents can use such drivers to leverage change. In particular, the embryonic linkage between pay and performance as part of the modernisation agenda at the national partnership level under Sustaining Progress (2003) provides the basis for a strong incentive to promote e-government facilitated organisation change. The key point here is that to leverage change, it is important to make creative use of overarching drivers of change, whether these come in the form of crises or opportunities. Building a business case that includes planned organisation change targets Several of the case study organisations and recent literature highlight another pertinent factor of change: the need for a strong business case both to underpin and, crucially, to communicate the benefits of the change process. The use of planned organisation change targets sustains the momentum of change. The use of a business case model, the assignment of an organisation change specialist/project manager to instigate a plan and oversee its phased developments and the use of milestones/indicators as benchmarks of progress can all ensure a smoother change process. Several key informants for this study advocate that there should be an obligation on organisations to set out a business case model to ensure effective transformation. In developing the business case, shared services and outsourcing may provide additional opportunities in implementing e-developments, and in alleviating skills limitations within the public service. Providing strategic leadership and management commitment A very important element of the change process involves the buy-in and commitment of senior management to the transformation process. The instigation of joint e-government/organisation development initiatives is a medium to long-term process and requires ongoing commitment by management over a significant number of years. The importance of strategic leadership to sustain the momentum of the process cannot be undervalued in terms of xii a successful outcome for the organisations examined in this report. Ensuring and delivering effective project management The importance of a structured approach to change is advocated by the organisations we examined in this study. At the outset of the change process, many organisations established a project steering group or employed a project manager supported by the senior management team to instigate the change process. A multi-phased project management plan was implemented by most organisations, and benchmarks were either instigated at the outset or during the change process. These benchmarks should be related to the organisation change targets set out in the business case. Risk management is an important aspect of project management. Also, as part of the project management process, it is important that the capabilities of participants are taken into account and plans to address limitations put in place, through training and development supports, contracting out and so on. Building inter-agency relationships The introduction of new technologies has enabled greater communication flows and knowledge management within the public sector. This has enabled co-operation between and within organisations at a greater pace and level than heretofore. The management and exploitation of these new communication flows necessitates a re-examination of administrative structures and location; and may lead to a reexamination of the purpose of a number of public service organisations. The efficiencies provided by the new technologies will engender a re-examination of administrative structures and location. This is important in terms of regionalisation/decentralisation of organisation structures, where communication links will become paramount. In managing organisation change arising from e-government, it is important to recognise that managing the inter-organisational aspects of change is at least as crucial as managing the internal organisational arrangements. xiii Involving the main stakeholders (partnership - internal, consultation - external) Most of the cases studied involved both the internal and external customer in the change process from the outset. Internally, the partnership model enabled the difficult issues of change to be monitored and resolved on a regular basis in a consensus approach. Lack of attention to human and organisational aspects are significant factors, which can undermine ICT investments. The case study organisations in this report underline the importance of partnership and involving the stakeholders at all levels in the process. Where organisations found difficulties related to implementation of new technologies or structures it was often because the change was not communicated with staff at the outset. Providing long-term commitment To facilitate the successful transformation of organisations there is a need to ensure commitment over the long-term. In this context, it is difficult to sustain the momentum and commitment of management and staff over a number of years unless there is a clearly laid out vision, a business plan with directional indicators, a partnership process to involve stakeholders and a drive and ‘buy-in’ by leadership to the complete process over the long term. Encouraging experimentation The returns on e-government investment may not be clearly evident in the short to medium term; indeed, a certain amount of risk may be needed to fully realise the potential for transformation of public services and to exploit the efficiencies that are possible through innovative structures and technologies and to ensure real quality service to the customer. These risks can be minimised by experimenting with different approaches and mainstreaming those that show significant benefits. Conclusions A central message coming out of this study is that organisation change arising from ICT developments is far xiv from being simply a technical issue. Introducing ICTs and just assuming that changes in organisation culture and practice will follow is a recipe for inertia and inaction. Rather, organisation changes arising from the introduction of ICTs must be explicitly planned for. In this context, it is necessary that those involved in the change process be aware of the broader issues that need to be managed above and beyond the introduction of ICTs themselves (these broader issues are set out in Figure 6.2 in the main body of the paper). The governance and values issues that inform the way business is done set the the context for the change. To achieve success in driving e-government in the future, several key informants advocated the need for a centre of leadership to clearly and visibly drive the e-government agenda and to achieve buy-in by public service leaders. Also helpful from a broad governance perspective would be the continuance of the explicit linkage between pay and performance established under Sustaining Progress (2003). Such a linkage can act as an important anchor for securing organisation change, when linked with verification of change. Organisation change should, in this context, be an explicit goal of ICT-enabled changes arising as part of the modernisation agenda. Similarly, it would be helpful if the Information Society Fund were to require targets/indicators of organisation change in terms of measuring returns on the investment. A vital aspect of change is managing the people issues: the need to get the right people in place to manage the projects and bring about change. As noted earlier, the change agent role is a crucial one. The current supports for policy analysts being co-ordinated by the Centre for Management and Organisation Development (CMOD) is aimed at producing staff with skills and competencies that are appropriate to this change agent role. Drawing on this expertise in the future could further facilitate successful change. The management of process issues is where the ICT developments themselves are to the fore. ICTs can be used to promote functional integration within organisations and also across organisations. The planning processes needed to support ICT-enabled change are also vital here, particularly the need for the development of a sound business case and effective project management, as outlined earlier. Projects should be required to identify and enumerate the proposed benefits arising from planned organisation changes arising from ICT development. Rationalisation of process and data management is also required, with the use of shared services being used as appropriate to enhance efficiency. Regarding policy and programme issues, ICT-enabled change calls for more administrative and programme integration: improving the design and co-ordination of a range of related administrative practices and operational programmes to better meet service user needs. The full impact of ICT developments will not be gained by organisations if they are imposed on old policy and programme structures and processes. The presence of learning and accountability issues highlights the need for tangible measurement of ICT developments in terms of their value to society. Governments must regularly evaluate the progress and effectiveness of their e-government investments to determine whether stated goals and objectives are being met on schedule. This includes organisation change goals and objectives. This requires, for example, personnel or efficiency savings targets to be clearly enunciated at the business case development stage and clear targets set for their achievement during implementation. Finally, with regard to quality service delivery issues,there is a need to take a serious look at service delivery channels and examine the opportunities for outsourcing,partnerships and the like to create empowered crossorganisation and inter-organisation relationships that more ffectively address service user needs. The configuration and re-configuration of organisations will be fected by ICT- enabled change. Such issues are particularly important in the context of decentralisation. To summarise, transforming the organisation landscape is a strategic challenge that involves focusing on the whole business change, not just the ICT aspects.


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