E-government and the emergence of virtual organizations in the public sector
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The massive introduction and use of information and communication network technology in public administration has led to the establishment of a complex variety of new, virtual organization forms within and outside the public sector. Electronic government has been an important driver for the emergence of virtual organizations in the public sector. However, our knowledge about these emerging forms of virtual organization has been limited, especially if we look at the public sector. Although the last ten years numerous studies have appeared systematic research into the world of virtual organizations is limited (Bekkers, 2000; Van Hout & Bekkers, 2000). In this article I want to grasp and understand the variety and complexity of virtual organizations in the public sector, which emerge in the slipstream of numerous e-government initiatives. The development of an explorative typology of virtual organizations can help us to reduce this variety. Moreover, it can help to identify possible factors and relations between them which account for the similarities and differences between the identified types of virtual organizations. Relevant factors are related to specific characteristics of the ICT-network which is used, the socio-organizational network in which the virtual organization has emerged, and several types of e-government services. In section two I will describe e-government as a relevant phenomenon in public administration, which shows us how public administration is changing under influence of modern ICT. Virtual organizations are the manifestation of this change, but what does the notion of virtual organization imply? In section three I discuss some of the literature. In section four I will elaborate on the research strategy which has been followed in order to develop a typology of virtual organizations, which will be described in section five. In section six I will compare the specific types of virtual organization and relate them to specific e-government services, specific characteristics op ICT network and the socio-organizational network in which the virtual organization has emerged. Some conclusions will be formulated.
- information space