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Assessing the e-governance maturity level of Dutch municipalities through the analysis of municipal websites : does municipality size have an effect on website maturity level?

Meijerink, T.J. (2016) Assessing the e-governance maturity level of Dutch municipalities through the analysis of municipal websites : does municipality size have an effect on website maturity level?

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Abstract:This study provides a public administration perspective into the issue and performs an evaluation and assessment on the e-governance maturity level of Dutch municipalities through the analysis of municipal websites in 2015. The study is inspired by research done in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011-12 and 2013-14 by Holzer & Kim. The study differs from the studies performed by Holzer & Kim by adjusting the scoring system to its own purpose. A different viewpoint is provided by adding the institutional and benchmarking theory, contributing to a better understanding of this topic. Subsequently, the size of municipalities is presented as a potential explanatory factor for the variation in website scores. This thesis elaborates of what the governmental objective encompass and how to define e-government or e-governance. As both definitions look alike and no clear distinction is to be found, additional research is done to analyse sources that mention the difference between the two. Apart from a few arguments and assumptions, for example that e-governance is applicable to the governance of corporations or governance of major non-profit organization, while e-government is strictly about government or were e-governance entails engaging citizens and stakeholders and letting them co-produce public services while e-government views citizens largely as consumer of these services, it seems to be a matter of interpretation as there is no clear boundary between the two definitions and future research is necessary to see what the causes are. Subsequently, the current state of the municipal website is analysed and relevant data is shown in table 4.1. The most important result is that the size of a municipality does influence and has an effect on the overall (SUM)score of the maturity level in digitalization and scores between small and large municipalities do differ. As such, the size of a municipality does influence and has an effect on the overall score. Of further notice, different scores were observed, suggesting that municipalities hold on to their own agendas and possibilities. The cause of this could be for many reasons and is also destined for future research. The variables included in this research such as outsourcing or time/money all take part in the institutionalization of an actor. The environment of an actor influences how an organization is set up and how easily it adapts to new things. The results of this study clearly suggest that municipalities and the way in which they implement the newest technologies or possibilities of digitalization differs and seems to be troubling the closing deadline. Although the governmental objective or target is not consequential, some of the municipalities really lack in adapting to the digital possibilities that are existing today. The benchmarking theory made it possible to compare the municipal websites but is limited to the variables used. The more information one could get, the more intense and complex but more evident the benchmarking of these municipal websites become, especially if one uses valuation in studying municipal websites. The subject of personal value, experience is excluded and is food for thought and further future research. The outcome of this research can be beneficial for 1) future objectives and research, 2) national government (as in knowing how and why municipalities perform and act) and 3) other municipalities to see why some are more successful in implementation than others. Performance evaluation could serve as a reference for them in their future allocation of resources. This paper is to present a novel approach for assessing the e-Governance maturity of municipalities based on analysing how electronic public services are delivered through municipal websites to citizens living in different populated areas. It is, therefore, an inviting prospect of how Dutch municipalities want to organize services and their websites.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/70929
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