Innovation in a Regulated Environment? - Legal Barriers for e-Government Development

Göran Goldkuhl


This paper explores the contrast between 1) the rhetoric and visions in Swedish national e-government policy and 2) practical problems in real e-government development. In this respect it particularly explores the possibilities and obstacles for an innovative e-government development in relation to the highly regulated environment of public administration. The paper uses a case study on e-government development (allowances for personal assistance to disabled persons) for analysis and illustration. Different kinds of regulations are investigated (general administrative regulations, domain-specific regulations, e-government policies) and their roles as barriers and enablers are identified. The value balancing between different sets of regulations is seen as a key issue with regards to how to establish an e-government with a high degree of process innovation. The paper advocates for a value balancing process characterized as a systemic approach with identifying and prioritizing basic values. Value balancing is investigated through a socio-pragmatic framework on institutions and interpreted as a kind of meta-institutional activity.

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