佟德志:Innovation Effect of Electronic Government

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Abstract:Electronic government is not only a form of the government innovation, but also accelerator of the comprehensive innovation of government management. Electronic government is the roll booster of government innovation. Electronic government can shift government function to service from management, construct a government with more governance, less government; electronic government can reinvent government structure, construct a flat government; electronic government can optimize government procedure, construct a seamless  government, which will fulfill the comprehensive innovation of government.


1. Introduction

Changing the model of government function, reforming the way of government management, promotion of electronic government are important contents of the management innovation, which is brought forward in the 16th conference of CPC. The premier Wen Jiabao pointed in a lecture: “It is favorable of improving the efficiency and transparency of government management, the quality and level of the public service to reinvent organizes and management through electronic government, improve the level of information management of government, which is an important strategy for the development of state economy and should be carried out as a very important thing”.1

Along with the development of the reformation of the administrative system, it becomes an obvious tendency to realize the government  innovation through electronic government, which attracts more and more attention. The paper will discuss the rationality of the government innovation through electronic government from the practice of the world and the reality in China.

2. Reinventing the Government

through Electronic Government Since 1980s, there formed a tide of new public management, including “government reinventing”, “government innovation” under the condition of the globalization, democratization, information communication technology and market economic. As the most sensitive department of the state, the government[①] adapts to the change early, and begins to reform in many aspects. Electronic government shows its advantages in many aspects to realize the government innovation. The government reformation is linked to electronic government closely. The developed country realized the government innovation by the promotion of electronic government; the developing country also promotes electronic government to realize the reengineering of the government process, hands-off, anticorruption and so on. We can find that electronic government is linked to the government innovation more and more closely, and become the important contents of the

government reformation. At the same time, electronic government can also benefit for the innovation and the reformation of the government management. It has already become the focus of the new public management to realize government innovation through electronic government. There have held five times of International Conferences on Electronic Government successfully since 2002. Most of the papers provided for the conference are focused on the electronic government affaire and the structure, procedure, decision of the government, especially the third conference.

From the aspects of the governmental innovation, information communication technology (ICT) becomes the main symbol of the modern

governmental management, to which is attached more and more importance. As a tool, ICT can do more, but cost less. The government reformation, either business process re-engineering (BPR), public service orientation (PSO), or something else, must rely on the ICT. The manager realized that electronic government must be brought to the government reformation. Promotion of the government innovation, increasing the effectiveness of the government management, reduction of the cost of the government administration through electronic government coincide the request of the government reformation. For example, in order to establish a government which is more effective and cheap, the U.S.A advanced the most representative slogan of “do more, cost less”. The official found that they can accomplish this through  electronic government. It is in this point that electronic government gains its contact with the tide of government reformation in the scope of the world. Electronic government can not only increase the effectiveness of the government management, but also save the cost of government management, minimize of the cost and maximize of the production, which provided the most important basis of

the government innovation.

Electronic government can enhance the link between governments, mobilization of positivity of the civil servant. Electronic government can  break out the boundary of the government management, resolve the problem of interchange, communication and cooperation of the information and construct an new type of relation “government to government” (G2G). At the same time, electronic government reconstructs the Office Automation (OA), which can help the civil servants make good use of ICT to deal with the government affair, cooperate with  colleague easily. So, electronic government will be favorable for constructing a new type of relation “government to employee” (G2E).

The promotion of electronic government is also the request of the general citizen and enterprise. Under the condition of the “New Economic”, the enterprise urged new request for the management and service from government, which changed the type of the relation between government and business, reinvent a new model of government to business (G2B). The development of ICT heightened the expectation of the citizen, especially in the service provided by government. The government innovation through electronic government can provide more effective and more suitable service for every citizen, which can reconstruct a new model of the relation between government and citizen, namely the model government to citizen (G2C).

From all above, we can find that the promotion of electronic government can deal with the request from the government, civil servant, business and citizen, which will reinvent a new model of the government management.We can see that from the graph below.

Figure 1 the Model of the Relation in Electronic Government Electronic government can realize government innovation not only in theory, but also in practice. In china, electronic government realizes more and more participation, effectiveness in broader scope and deeper level, which coincides with the standard of the government innovation exactly.[②] In the practice, electronic government is not only a form of the government innovation, but also tools for the other forms of government innovation. Electronic government is the accelerator of the comprehensive innovation of government management, which is favorable for the shift of the government function, reorganization of the government structure, reengineering of the government process and the innovation of the government culture.

3. Innovation of Government Function:

Government of More Governance Less government, more governance is the important target of the government innovation across the world. Since the concept of “governance” is used in the report of the World Bank in 1989, the idea of “governance” is accepted as a slogan, and put into practice of the government management. During the process of the reformation of government, government of more governance shows

its importance little by little, “less government, more governance” is accepted by more and more people.

Good governance is the target of the government of more governance. In the six standards of the good governance, legitimacy, transparency, accountability, rule of law, responsiveness and effectiveness can get support from the promotion of electronic government. The broad participation of the citizen will carry the democracy forward, give the administrative system legitimacy at higher level; the promotion of electronic

government will eliminate the affection of the affective element, manage by the rule of law. In addition, the advantage of electronic government in the aspects of transparency, accountability, responsiveness, effectiveness is also obvious and testified again and again. 

Electronic government affected the government  management comprehensively. Electronic government emphasizes service of the government

function, focuses the service centered on the citizen, which will drive the government function from management to service. Electronic  government will attract more and more civil organization to take part in the government management, focus on the interaction between government and civil organization, which will be favorable of enhancing the autonomy of the civil society and reducing the burden of the government management. The affection can also be found in the subject of the management except the contents of the government function. Electronic government can provide faster and easier tools for the participation of citizen, which will not only be favorable for the exertion of rights by citizen, but also enhance the democratic decision in the government management.

The expert on electronic government, Christine Bellamy and John Taylor indicated that “the new technology can not only reduce the cost of public service, but also benefit for the rebuilt the relation between government and citizen”.2 The orientation of electronic government lied in the citizen. In the January of 2002, the White House worked out a plane for electronic government, whose main target is to construct a government centered on the citizen. 3 The other nations, such as Norway, have also put forward the principle of citizen orientation, and put it to the practice in the government management. In the survey on electronic government by Accenture Company, Singapore, Canada and the United States of America are evaluated as the innovative leader, whose reason of success lies in the exertion of the principle of citizen orientation.

Electronic government adapts the relation between government and citizen. In the aspect of the legitimacy, if the government is viewed as an organ like enterprise, the citizen should be viewed as a stake holder, the relation between government and citizen should be viewed as the

relation between owner and manager. In the process of the electronic government, the government is oriented as the server provider, and the citizen as the consumer, the relation between government and citizen as the relation between consumer and producer. The dual contents of the relation between government and citizen can not only regulate the legitimacy of the service function, but also renew the idea of traditional democracy.

Electronic government will bring out a new shift of the government function to the service orientation. The new reformation of the government will construct a type of service government for the citizen. “At one hand, the government function will center on the characterized service for all citizens; at the other hand, government function will be no more certain. Along with the improvement of the quality of the service and reduction of the cost, there may form a kind of call service government”.4

In China, the government will emphasize the service further while enhancing the management, which is the basic target of the development of electronic government. The Research Group on the Information of Government of Chinese Public Administration Society (CPAS) points out in the Report of the Development of Electronic Government in China, the target of electronic government should be “suitable in size, scientific in management and pursuit normalization and honesty in administrative management, effective and maximum in public service”, according to the national conditions of China.5 Normalization in management and maximum  in service are two targets in the government management, which is the most suitable choice for the developing of electronic government. Electronic government provides a platform for the shift of government function from more government to more governance.

4. Innovation of Government

Structure: Flat Government The bureaucratic administration in the traditional government can not work in the highly complicated and fast  changing modern society because of the restriction in the time and space, which is the basic reason of the “Peter Morbidity” in the structure of the government management. Along with the extension of the government function, there formed the Pyramidal Model in the government structure.(See the graph below, take China as the case.)

Figure to the Government Structure in China The Pyramidal Model caused disjoint in the vertical section and conflict in the horizontal section,which is not only the problem in the traditional government management, but also the signal and symptom of the crisis in contemporary government management. The Ford Model of government management in the industrial era cannot deal with more and more complicated

affair in the information society freely. At the 1990s, the vice president of the United States of America Al Gore have already criticized the stagnation of the era of U.S Steel Corporation in the government management, and called on a new model of government management for the era of Microsoft.3 The promotion of electronic government is benefit for disassembling the Pyramidal Model and curing Peter Morbidity in the government management, which provided the possibility for the development to the flat model of the government structure.

Figure 3

Theoretical Model of Electronic Government Structure There are no more intervals in time and distance in space in electronic government affair,  which affective the model of government structure greatly. At first, electronic government turned the intention of centralization in traditional  government management, which is favorable for the decentralization in the government management. In the graph above, there may be affiliation among the four subject, A, B, C, D, however, any subject may be the center in the government affair; at the other aspect, compared  with Pyramidal Model, the structure of electronic government can accommodate the civil servant at the bottom of the government to take part  in the decision making, which can activate their positivity greatly. The promotion of electronic government can make the vertical communication  and the horizontal link in the government structure smoothly, reduce the unnecessary process in the business procedure, through which the  government can contact with the citizen directly. So, the promotion of electronic government benefit for the effective and character service in  the government management and accelerate the speed of the response from the government, which is favorable of constructing a more  responsive government. Early in 1997, most of the information service system in local government provided the information of other local government or volunteer party in England.6 Government structure is the structure of every unit of government to act and interact according to  some kind of mode and principle,   hich does not only include the settings of every unit, but also the relation among every unit. So, the  reformation of government structure faces double tasks: setting every unit reasonable at one hand, and enhancing the organic linking among every unit. There must establish fast, convenient, cheap and effective communication in both the communication in the government and the

contact among governments. Electronic government will construct the information highway; resolve the problem of linkage of government  innovation.

The vertical communication and horizontal link among government units is the key point for the government innovation, the bridge of the union of the government units. The promotion of electronic government cannot only reduce the cost generate during the process of systematization, but also make it more fast and convenient. In order to plan the resource reasonably, the problem of the Government Resource Planning (GRP) was brought out after the problem of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). In order to enhance the cooperation among units and regions, the advantage in the communication and sharing of information through electronic government will make the government structure more reasonably, which will plan the manpower resource, material resources and financial resource.

The government innovation through electronic government is necessary in China. The vertical sector of the government structure in China is more complicated which tends to disjoint in the management and block in the communication and so on. There also exists the overlapping of the government function in the horizontal sector, which tends to overstaff in the office and so on. These problems in the vertical and horizontal sector baffled the reformation in the government function and government process.

It is the direction and target of the reformation of government structure in China to make the government structure to be more flat. So, how to enhance the horizontal link and vertical communication becomes more and more important. The exact and effective information and  communication is the advantage of electronic government. The promotion of electronic government is favorable of the integration of the  government organ in larger scope and the reduction of the layer of the government which does not only benefit for enhancing the relation

among governments, but also activating the positivity of the local government. The promotion of electronic government will reduce the interval sector of government management; enhance the organic link among governments, so that the reformation of government can spring out the vicious circle of “reduction-extension-reduction again-extension again”.

5. Innovation of the Government

Process: Seamless Government Concerning the innovation of government structure,the innovation of government process through electronic government is taken as agood idea by the reformer of the government management. The promotion of electronic government will optimize the program of the government management; provide the tools for the innovation of government process. Innovation of the government process through electronic government focuses on the reformation of the business process inner government, which includes the production, distribution, interchange and consumption in the vertical order of the government organ. In the support of the ICT, the government has the possibility to break out the business process in traditional organization, integrate the principle and area principle and subjective principle, reengineering the business process.

Electronic government can not only provide fast and convenient information collection for the characterized service, but also break out the limit of organize and function, deliver the suitable service to the citizen. In this aspect, one-stop service is the best contribution by electronic government for the government management. Through electronic government, some traditional government affair, such as supermarket of

government affair, single-window Service and so on come to reality, which provides the possibility for the seamless government from the  government business process.

Concerning the experience from the developed country, the promotion of electronic government tends to press the service of government to the citizen, optimize the process of government. For example, neighborhood offices, one-stop service, area-based management and so on. In additional, the promotion of electronic government on community forum and local committee will breakout the restriction of area-based  management in the traditional government and formed a government process centered on the problem. These sets of electronic government can not only enhance the link between government and citizen, but also optimize the government process.

The Firstgov Project (www.firstgov.gov) constructed in America becomes the model of the reengineering of government process. The General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Communication build the network to provide a union entrance of all affairs and information of the federal government for the general citizen, and linked to the network of the states and local government. Through the Firstgov Project, the federal government does not only enhance the link among governments, but also activate the interaction among government, citizen and cooperation, which awarded the first prize in the 16th government innovation award.

Electronic government optimizes the government process further, provide the possibility for the management and service to surpass the limit of organize, which put the citizen close to the service provider. Taylor suggest that the government business process should be a program who “surpass the limit of organize back to the provider of the request, front to the client”.7 This kind of vertical link put the provider close to the consumer, optimizes the process of the public service.

Electronic government changed the traditional government process. The promotion of electronic government separates the frontier service (FE) and the decision making (DM). The reformation provides the information service for the citizen without leaving home. The reformation is  complicated; some of them are carried out in the government, such as the electronic service of delivery (ESD), government process reformation (GPR); some of them are promoted out of the government, closed the “user”,[③] such as electronic public information service (EPIS), information stall and other comprehensive information service (CIS).

Figure 4

the Process of Electronic Information Service in England8 We can see that the client’s service is submitted and fed back through electronic  government throughout the whole process. In the model of electronic government, the process of the government service becomes a process of the information communication, which breaks out the restriction in time and space, provides the fast and convenient way to the execution of the government function.

6. Conclusion

Through the discussion from above, we can draw a conclusion that electronic government is the roll booster of government innovation. Electronic government can shift government function to service from management, construct a government with more governance, less government; electronic government can reinvent government structure, construct a flat government; electronic government can optimize government procedure, construct a seamless government; more over, electronic government can enhance the knowledge management, help to

promote learning government, cyberspace government, realize the culture innovation in government management. All of these can be of great value to realize the government innovation.

Actually, the innovation brought and will be brought by electronic government is not restricted with the government function,government  structure and government process and so on, but also includes the innovation in the government culture, government decision and so on. Electronic government can increase the transparency of the government, which will benefit for realization of the “sunny government”; electronic

government can enhance the idea of democracy and rule of law of the employee, which will benefit for the innovation of government culture. Moreover, in the realization of the effective government, learning government and cyber government, electronic government can also show its

special advantage.



References:

[1]Wen Jiabao, Deepen the Reformation of the Administrative System, Speed the Realization of Government Innovation, Journal of State Administrative College.2004(1), p.8.温家宝.深化行政管理体制改革,加快实现政府管理创新——在国家行政学院省部级干部政府管理创新与电子政务专题研究班上的讲话[J].国家行政学院学报,2004(1).8.

[2]Christine Bellamy and John A. Taylor, Governing in the Information Age, London:Open University Press, 1998, p.64.

[3]Al Gore Creating a government that works better and costs less, New York and Harmonds worth: Plume Books and Penguin, 1993.

[4]Tong Dezhi, Electronic Democracy and the Orientation of Government Function in the Information Era, The Open Times, 2001(10), p.22.

佟德志.电子民主与信息时代的政府职能定位[J].开放时代,2001(10).22.

[5]The Research Group on the Information of Government of CPAS, The Report on the Development of Electronic Government in China, Chinese Public Administration, 2002(3),p.7.中国行政管理学会政府信息化建设课题组.《中国电子政务发展研究报告》.北京:《中国行政管理》[J],2002(3). 7.

[6]SOCITM IT Trends in local government, Northampton: Society of Information Technology Management, 1996, p.31.

[7]Taylor,J. A. Don’t obliterate, Informate! BPR for the Information Age, New Technology, Work and Employment, 1995(10), pp.83-8.

[8]Tond Dezhi, The Analyze of the Information Procedure of Electronic Government, CASS Journal of Political Science, 2000 (1), p.21.

佟德志.电子政府的信息过程分析[J].北京:政治学研究,2000(1): p21.




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