Information Technology, Public Administration, and Citizen Participation: The Impacts of E‐Government on Political and Administrative Processes

Date01 November 2012
Published date01 November 2012
Book Reviews 915
Hua Xu is assistant professor in the
Department of Political Science and Public
Administration of Auburn University at
Montgomery, where he teaches for the
graduate programs in public administration
and policy. His research interests include
public budgeting and f‌i nance, e-governance,
public management, and comparative
public administration. His research has
appeared in Public Administration
Review, Public Administration
Quarterly, Journal of Public
Budgeting, Accounting and Financial
Management, Journal of Public
Affairs Education, and several books.
Book Reviews
Public Administration Review,
Vol. 72, Iss. 6, pp. 915–920. © 2012 by
The American Society for Public Administration.
DOI: 10.111/j.1540-6210.2012.02671.x.
public organizations, and citizen participation;
whether e-government has fulf‌i lled its promises; to
what extent citizens are satisf‌i ed with online govern-
ment services; whether e-government has increased
public trust and government accountability; and what
are the impediments or constraints to the develop-
ment of e-government.  ese two selected books, with
dif‌f erent focuses and styles, provide some answers to
these questions.
is essay f‌i rst will review each book, starting with
Michael Milakovich’s Digital Governance and then
moving on to Christopher G. Reddick’s Public
Administration and Information Technology. en the
books will be compared. As these two books were
published later than G. David Garson’s inf‌l uential
book on e-government, Public Information Technology
and E-Governance: Managing the Virtual State (2006),
there is a good reason to use his book as an important
reference in the present review. For this reason, a brief
summary of the key topics in Garson’s book is of‌f ered
before the reviews.
Based on his extensive literature review, Garson
provides a description of competing theories of
information technology, visions of e-governance at
dif‌f erent time periods ranging from the 1960s to the
2000s, and a brief history of public sector information
technology since World War II.  e book addresses
the policy and political implications of public sector
information technology, discussing issues such as
e-democracy, access to information, and the digital
divide, as well as policies concerning privacy, security,
regulation, and taxation.  e book also explores in
a comprehensive manner managerial issues concern-
ing the application of e-government models in the
public sector, such as IT-enabled par tnering, out-
sourcing, procurement, and contracting; the planning
and implementation of public information systems
(including IT project management); the factors
that contribute to successful implementation; as
well as ways to evaluate public information systems.
Finally, the book discusses the ef‌f ects of information
Michael Milakovich, Digital Governance: New Tech-
nology for Improving Public Service and Participa-
tion (New York: Routledge, 2012). 351 pp. $135.00
(cloth), ISBN: 9780415891431; $44.95 (paper),
ISBN: 9780415891448.
Christopher G. Reddick, Public Administration and
Information Technology (Burlington, MA: Jones
and Bartlett, 2012). 253 pp. $75.95 (paper), ISBN:
esearch on the impact of information and
communications technologies (ICTs) in the
public sector—that is, e-government—has
consistently been an important topic in the f‌i eld of
public administration since the publication of Jane
E. Fountain’s book Building the Virtual State (2001).
Past research focused mainly on such topics as the
adoption of e-government and the degree to which
ICTs are applied in government (Moon 2002; Norris
and Moon 2005). More recent research has focused
on the new generation of ICTs—Web 2.0 technolo-
gies and social networking media—and their ef‌f ects
on democracy and public administration (Manoharan
and Holzer 2012; Kloby and D’Agostino 2012).
By now, no one can ignore the power of new media
technologies in political participation in light of their
contribution to the success of Barack Obama’s presi-
dential campaign.  e current economic recession and
resulting f‌i scal stress certainly underscore the urgency
of applying ICTs in the government sector in ef‌f orts
to achieve additional cost savings in the delivery of
public services.
e potential benef‌i ts of applying ICTs in the public
sector are manifold: improved transparency, account-
ability, and access and increased trust in government.
In addition, the emergence of new media, or social
networking technologies, may aid in the process of
democratization and may even catalyze the democ-
ratizing process, as seen in some Middle Eastern
countries. One may wonder to what extent the new
generation of ICTs has transformed public service,
Information Technology, Public Administration, and Citizen
Participation:  e Impacts of E-Government on Political
and Administrative Processes
Sonia M. Ospina and Rogan Kersh, Editors
Hua Xu
Auburn University at Montgomery

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