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The Evolution and Continuing Challenges of E-Governance


Sharon S. Dawes is a senior fellow at the Center for Technology in Government (CTG) and an associate professor of public administration and policy at the University at Albany. As founding director from 1993–2007, she led the CTG to international prominence in applied digital government research. A fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, she was elected the first president of the Digital Government Society of North America in 2006. She serves on advisory committees for the National Science Foundation, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the United Nations University. Her main research interests are government information strategy and management, international research collaboration, and cross-boundary information sharing and integration.


E-governance comprises the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to support public services, government administration, democratic processes, and relationships among citizens, civil society, the private sector, and the state. Developed over more than two decades of technology innovation and policy response, the evolution of e-governance is examined in terms of five interrelated objectives: a policy framework, enhanced public services, high-quality and cost-effective government operations, citizen engagement in democratic processes, and administrative and institutional reform. This summary assessment of e-governance in U.S. states and local governments shows that the greatest investment and progress have been made in enhanced public services and improved government operations. Policy development has moved forward on several fronts, but new policy issues continually add to an increasingly complex set of concerns. The least progress appears to have occurred in enhancing democracy and exploring the implications of e-governance for administrative and institutional reform. ICT-enabled governance will continue to evolve for the foreseeable future providing a dynamic environment for ongoing learning and action.