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E-government and E-governance: Converging constructs of public sector information and communications technologies

Author: DONALD J. CALISTA and JAMES MELITSKI
Published in PAQ, Vol. 31 No. 1

The widespread usage of the Web and the Internet—as
information and communication technologies (ICTs)—is a recent
important public sector innovation. In general, various descriptive
models present a linear progression of stages—typically, going from
routine online tasks that previously required people to visit agencies
and then on to higher level connections, including creation of edemocracy.
In addition, observers employ e-government and egovernance
interchangeably, thereby, inhibiting distinguishing between
them. Alternatively, they are discrete patterns with the former stressing
service delivery transactions and the latter networked participatory
interactions. These developments are traceable through the history of
information technology in the public sector and in the application of
theories of information technology and social change. The relationship
between e-government and e-governance—which can be termed the
dual e-gov construct—is both asymptotic and curvilinear whose
trajectories converge twice. Their second convergence produces
certain unintended consequences—negative spillovers—which impact
democracy detrimentally. In order to continue employing ICTs to
promote citizen empowerment in government, these spillovers need to
be articulated and addressed. The conclusion suggests ways to
recognize the onset of these potentially harmful effects on democracy.

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