E-Government Implementation, Work Process Changes and Competency Training in Spanish Town Councils
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This paper aims to empirically explore whether changes in technological infrastructures and working processes have been perceived by local public employees, and if training programs have been used as a way to introduce these changes in a strategic manner. The analysis of the differences in the situation between 2005 and 2014 reveals an increased investment in technology and a decreased investment in training, and that public employees have not perceived a significant improvement in the way they work and in their efficiency levels. These findings emphasize the importance of competence-based management for the effective provision of public services. Purpose – This paper has as its aim to empirically explore whether changes in technological infrastructures and working processes have been perceived by local public employees, and if training programs have been used as a way to introduce these changes in a strategic manner. Design/Methodology/Approach – A longitudinal analysis was carried for this purpose asking about the presence of training actions addressed to the employees of Spanish public administrations and about the perception that ICT area managers have in regards to the effects caused by the introduction of e-government strategies. Findings – The results obtained show that town councils have increased their investment in technical aspects of e-government, but not in the development of competences to use the technology. In addition, the fact that public employees have not perceived a significant improvement in the way they work and in their efficiency levels leads to the conclusion that a decreased investment in competency training is not conducive to a greater sense of efficiency in the provision of public services. Research limitations/implications – The limitations of this paper lie on the lack of consideration of certain parameters which might influence strategic e-government implementation; plus incurring in single-bias response and considering only one case (Spain) in the research. The statistical analysis is merely descriptive, although it provides the researchers with clear results. Practical implications – Public managers and policy makers should reflect on the long-term effects of their e-government decisions or ‒ alternatively ‒ the absence of such effects. Shortterm ‘patches’ are only useful to meet a specific need during a certain period, whereas change management requires a more far-reaching, long-term look which can overcome the budgetary limits and the traditional bureaucratic barriers. Originality/Value – This paper presents the results of a longitudinal analysis carried out over nine years that explores first-hand opinions of e-government professionals, linking competency-base management and e-government success.
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