The second wave of digital-era governance: a quasi-paradigm for government on the Web

Helen Margetts, Patrick Dunleavy

Abstract

Widespread use of the Internet and the Web has transformed the public management ‘quasi-paradigm’ in advanced industrial countries. The toolkit for public management reform has shifted away from a ‘new public management’ (NPM) approach stressing fragmentation, competition and incentivization and towards a ‘digital-era governance’ (DEG) one, focusing on reintegrating services, providing holistic services for citizens and implementing thoroughgoing digital changes in administration. We review the current status of NPM and DEG approaches, showing how the development of the social Web has already helped trigger a ‘second wave’ of DEG2 changes. Web science and organizational studies are converging swiftly in public management and public services, opening up an extensive agenda for future redesign of state organization and interventions. So far, DEG changes have survived austerity pressures well, whereas key NPM elements have been rolled back.

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