15.05.2022

Presentation of a conceptual framework for citizen-centred smart public governance at the national level

Academic researchers use theoretical lenses, theoretical grammars, conceptual frameworks, roadmaps, and a variety of other comparable conceptions and descriptive phrases, such as conceptualizing and theorizing are used nowadays by academic researchers to explain the starting point, main focus, and/or outcome of an academic report.

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15.04.2022

Development of a conceptual framework for citizen-centred smart public governance at the national level

The Hercules project carried out activities to construct a conceptual framework for citizen-centred smart public governance (CSPG) at the national level.

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15.02.2022

From Neo-Weberian to Hybrid Governance Models in Public Administration: Differences between State and Local Self-Government

The Hercules research team published a new article on public governance models and differences between state and local self-government.

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01.11.2021

Covid-19 pandemic and disruptive technologies across scientific areas: A bibliometric review

The 2021 International Conference on Digital Science (DSIC 2021) took place in Protaras, Cyprus from 15 to 16 October 2021.

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15.09.2021

Mapping thematic trends and analysing hotspots in smart public governance research: A bibliometric analysis

The European Group for Public Administration has organized an annual conference. The EGPA conference is the annual meeting of a community of public administration academics, young researchers, and practitioners in Europe and key EGPA/IIAS partners.

Read more
30.06.2021

The most important articles in the field of smart public governance (SPG) in the period 1999-2021

As part of the bibliometric analysis of the field of smart public governance (SPG) for the period 1999-2021, the research group identified the most important articles related to the concept of smart city and smart governance.

Read more
30.04.2021

Preliminary analysis of research hotspots in smart public governance research

The research team conducted a preliminary keyword co-occurrence network analysis to identify research hotspots in smart public governance research.

Read more
15.02.2021

Conceptual positioning of the concept of smart governance to other concepts

In February, the project carried out activities bound to the placement of the concept of smart governance to other concepts recognized in the literature and their correlation.

Read more
31.01.2021

Dynamics of the number of documents and citations in the period 1999-2020 in the field of smart governance

In January, the project conducted activities that upgrade the existing theoretical starting points.

Read more
09.11.2020

A preliminary review of the scientific literature in the area of the Smart Governance

The project conducted activities that are essential from an aspect of preparing theoretical starting points. Accordingly, a preliminary review of scientific literature in the area of the Smart Governance was prepared.

Read more
10.09.2020

Kickoff meeting of the TRP HERCULES project

At the beginning of the project activities, a kickoff meeting of the TRP HERCULES project entitled “Developing a conceptual framework for citizen-centred smart public governance” was organized on 10 September 2020.

Read more
15.05.2022

Presentation of a conceptual framework for citizen-centred smart public governance at the national level

Academic researchers use theoretical lenses, theoretical grammars, conceptual frameworks, roadmaps, and a variety of other comparable conceptions and descriptive phrases, such as conceptualizing and theorizing are used nowadays by academic researchers to explain the starting point, main focus, and/or outcome of an academic report. The majority of such frameworks and concepts appear to choose the latter two approaches: developing and presenting conceptual/theoretical frameworks and roadmaps rather than using them as a vehicle for presenting empirical findings (Estavez et al., 2021).

The project team Hercules constructed a conceptual framework which show the interplay between three primary elements namely, smart public governance, public value, and the smart environment.

Smart Public Governance: The importance of the context of smart public governance is becoming increasingly apparent in publications addressing smart cities. This isn't the case in publications on smart states. Whether the concept of smart public governance is applied to the state or the city, systematic examination of its role is scarce (Meijer et al., 2016). After reviewing the relevant literature, we note that some scholars (Lin 2018; Šiugždiniene et al., 2017; Bolivar & Meijer, 2015; Scholl & Scholl, 2014) have already tried to classify the concept into (sub)elements when developing pioneering conceptual frameworks. Nevertheless, there is no consensus among the scholars in the scientific literature regarding which characteristics define smart public governance and how significantly they influence it.

A review of the literature on smart public governance has led us to the conclusion that if we want to achieve smart public governance, we must consider four (sub)elements, namely (1) smart government, (2) smart ICT infrastructure, (3) smart interaction, and (4) smart human capital. All (sub)elements are equally important in our conceptual framework, and their synergy leads to the successful establishment of smart public governance.

Smart Public Governance Principles: After analysing the scientific literature, we discovered that scientists have yet to identify the principles of smart public governance. Nevertheless, Gil-Garcia and co-authors (2016) came the closest to identifying such principles in their research. They proposed a framework for understanding and measuring government smartness and proposals for smart government development as a whole.

On the other hand, ideas of good public governance are better documented in the present literature. International organisations worldwide were actively applying the concept of good public governance by the end of the twentieth century, both in specific policy areas such as international environmental legislation and in a broader policy context. The need for good public governance is thus much larger today than it was twenty years ago, and its implementation can be seen at national, regional, and global levels, where good governance principles have been further developed. In light of the diverse roles of national authorities, implementation of good public governance in the EU Member States has also been addressed through interpretation and application (Addink, 2019a; 2019b).

By analysing the literature on the principles of good public governance and by attempting to understand smartness, we were, for our conceptual framework, able to emphasise the principles that, in our opinion, impact the development of smart public governance at the national level. We suggest nine principles of smart public governance based on what has been stated, namely (1) innovation, (2) integration, (3) trust, (4) intelligence, (5) openness, (6) collaboration, (7) participation, (8) citizen engagement, and (9) citizen centricity.

Public value: Traditional public administration has offered a unique set of government solutions in the past. In addition, it relied heavily on Weber's perception of the world. Later, we may observe in the scientific literature a transition to the new public management paradigm, which somehow deconstructed the Weberian paradigm of the bureaucratic pillar of traditional public administration. Over time, the paradigm of new public management has been supplanted in the theory and practice of public administration.

Today, there is a growing emphasis on public value in the scientific literature. Thus, according to some writers, public value has become a newly emerging governance paradigm. It does not seek to limit policy, as traditional public administration and the new public management have done, but considers it a key management task (Stoker, 2006; Smith, 2003; Goss, 2001; Moore, 1995). Kelly, Mulgan, and Muers (2002) recognised three fundamental components of public value: services, outcomes, and government trust, legitimacy, and confidence. Stoker (2006) recently attempted to outline a public value management model, an "alternative paradigm," or "generic framework" for post competitive, collaborative network forms of governance based mainly on Moore’s and Kelly et al. (2002) research.

In our conceptual framework, public value is a result that can be obtained only if the smart environment enables it and is especially essential if smart public governance is oriented toward citizens. As a result, a citizen-centric approach is critical for establishing public value. However, to focus on citizens and achieve a goal, such as the public value, our conceptual framework includes three major (sub)elements that must be adjusted, namely (1) services, (2) outcomes, and (3) trust.

Smart Environment: We live in an age of rapidly evolving smart technologies that change our environment and make it more interactive and informative (Gubbi et al., 2013). The development of smart technologies has been primarily strongly influenced by digitalisation. The convergence of these technologies and improved availability has further sparked interest in creating smart environments (Rashidi & Holder, 2011). The identification of general (sub)elements that lead to the development of a smart environment has thus become a fairly evolving topic in the existing literature. The consideration of smart environment is most frequently seen in the literature on smart cities (Zhuang, Lu, & Huang, 2017; Caragliu, Del-Bo, & Nijkamp, 2013; Giffinger et al., 2007). As a result, smart environments are frequently mentioned in these contributions as a potential for users to collaborate and interact with their immediate surroundings seamlessly. Technological advancements and the advent of smart technologies, as well as services, have made this possible.

In our conceptual framework, the development of a smart environment at the national level consists of five sub-elements, namely (1) economics, (2) technology, (3) legislation, (4) demography, (5) politics, and (6) ecology. These are categories that Rainey (2014) already recognized as important in his work. Taking the (sub)elements into account, the state is further able to create a smart environment that impacts smart public governance and creates a citizen-centric orientation of public value.

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Figure 1: Conceptual framework – The interplay between smart public governance, smart environment, and public value
15.04.2022

Development of a conceptual framework for citizen-centred smart public governance at the national level

The Hercules project carried out activities to construct a conceptual framework for citizen-centred smart public governance (CSPG) at the national level. After conducting a comprehensive review of relevant social science literature, the research group members gained a suitable theoretical basis for developing an organisational chart (Figure 1), the first stage before further building a conceptual framework.

The organisational chart graphically depicts the components of the conceptual framework at various levels and their formal links. The different elements of the organisation chart are colour-coded; green fields represent smart public governance, orange fields represent public value, and blue fields represent smart environment. The grey field depicts the interaction of the three primary elements indicated above, or their combined performance at level one. This is followed by the second level, divided into three parts – the primary elements (i.e., smart public governance, public value, and smart environment). For each primary element, the third level lists the (sub)elements that should be implemented if we want to achieve overall performance (i.e., level one). At the same time, they are further elaborated on the fourth level. This gives rise to the fifth level (indicators) by which institutions can periodically measure the effectiveness of primary elements.

The project team will keep developing a conceptual framework for citizen-centred smart public governance.

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Figure 1: Organisational chart with three primary elements separated into (sub)elements, and indicators
15.02.2022

From Neo-Weberian to Hybrid Governance Models in Public Administration: Differences between State and Local Self-Government

The Hercules research team published a new article on public governance models and differences between state and local self-government. The presence of smart public governance model characteristics can be seen as an intersection between Digital-Era Governance and Hybrid governance models when observing the specific principles. We aimed to provide an overview of different public governance models, extract quantifiable elements based on models’ principles and examine the extent of layering of different governance models at different levels of public administration in the specific case of the Slovenian administration. Thus, the main focus is on identifying the differences in characteristics of public governance practices between state administration and local self-government.

The first phase involved identifying appropriate items that best reflect the characteristics of the corresponding public governance model, i.e., the Neo-Weberian model (WEB), New Public Management (NPM), Good Governance (GG), Digital-Era Governance (DEG), and the Hybrid model (HYB), which have the nature of latent constructs. In order to provide sufficient coverage of the constructs’ theoretical domain, the five most relevant items for each public governance model were identified. See Table 1 for selected items for DEG and Hybrid model. Accordingly, it was possible to proceed with the second phase of calculating mean values for each public governance model. Finally, in order to identify differences in mean values between state administration and local self-government, an independent samples t-test was performed.

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Table 1: Items used in the measurement of public governance models (DEG and Hybrid model)

Source: Aristovnik et al., 2022.

The results show that significant differences in public governance practices exist between state administration (M = 3.67; SD = 0.71) and local self-government (M = 4.07; SD = 0.59) for Digital-Era Governance, indicating the latter public governance model elements are more prominent in institutions on the local self-government level. However, despite local self-government achieving higher average values than state administration for the Hybrid model (M = 4.02; SD = 0.47 and M = 3.92; SD = 0.57, respectively), the results suggest there is no significant difference between these two segments of Slovenian public administration.

Differences between state administration and local self-government across the public governance models may be observed because local administrations tend to be more creative, receptive, and innovative. Contemporary local governance exceeds the legal aspects with its dedication to local users, solving their problems and fostering the community’s socio-economic development. Indicating, besides authoritative decision-making, local self-government institutions strengthen their legitimacy by providing quality public services and promoting democracy with public participation and co-decision-making on the local level, namely, utilising the main principles of Good Governance, the New Public Management model, Digital-Era Governance and even the Hybrid models.

01.11.2021

Covid-19 pandemic and disruptive technologies across scientific areas: A bibliometric review

The 2021 International Conference on Digital Science (DSIC 2021) took place in Protaras, Cyprus from 15 to 16 October 2021. The organisers also enabled the possibility of on-line participation for all those authors who could not attend the conference in person. DSIC 2021 is an international forum for researchers and practitioners to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, results, experiences and concerns in the several advances of Digital Science.

As a part of the Digital Technology & Applied Sciences group we presented our paper, titled “Covid-19 pandemic and disruptive technologies across scientific areas: A bibliometric review”. Namely, disruptive technologies have been recognized as a key facilitator of the Covid-19 pandemic response and recovery efforts. Therefore, they have recently gained increased attention. However, due to the novelty of this research area, there is the lack of knowledge. Therefore, the main aim of the paper was to a provide bibliometric analysis on Covid-19 and disruptive technologies research with the focus on their application across different scientific areas. Bibliometric analysis was based on the Scopus database that contains 2353 documents published until July 2021. In this context, several innovative bibliometric approaches were applied.

The results show that most of the research has been conducted within Physical Sciences, while Health Sciences are identified to have the most prominent scientific impact, as further confirmed of most relevant documents being more frequently cited compared to other scientific areas. Further, the highest authors’ collaboration is observed for Life Sciences and Health Sciences, while Social Sciences exhibit the lowest authors’ collaboration. Moreover, the IEEE Access from Physical Sciences is identified as the most relevant source, while Health Informatics from Multidisciplinary Sciences as the most relevant research field. Finally, artificial intelligence (AI) is by far the most applied disruptive technology across all scientific areas, especially in the context of Life Sciences. Contrary, 3D printing, augmented reality (AR), and drones seem to be not so relevant in the general Covid-19 related context, particularly in Health Sciences and Life Sciences (see Figure 1). The findings of the paper add to the existing scientific knowledge and facilitate evidence-based policymaking.

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Figure 1:Application of disruptive technologies across scientific areas (in %).

Source: Aristovnik et al., 2021.

15.09.2021

Mapping thematic trends and analysing hotspots in smart public governance research: A bibliometric analysis

The European Group for Public Administration has organized an annual conference. The EGPA conference is the annual meeting of a community of public administration academics, young researchers, and practitioners in Europe and key EGPA/IIAS partners. The conference took place in Brussels, Belgium from 7 to 10 September 2021. The conference was organised in hybrid form. As participants’ safety is organizers’ top priority, they also enabled the possibility of on-line participation for all those authors who could not attend the conference in person.

Our research group presented a bibliometric analysis within the e-government section, with the title: »Mapping thematic trends and analysing hotspots in smart public governance research: A bibliometric analysis«. The field of smart public governance is an emerging field. As researchers note already since the beginning of the 21st century, governments, and societies around the world have been faced with a dynamic economic and social pressures, and the complex challenges associated with public policies that come from the diversity and the complexity of the social objectives. These challenges need to be addressed and responded to quickly by the public governance system, that is, the smart public governance.

The main aim of the paper was to show how the research field of smart public governance has developed over time (see Figure 1), which topics have been most researched, which have been the most active, authors, to which articles most attention has been paid.

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Figure 1: Distribution of publications and citations by year (2013–2020)

We find that regardless of the growing number of scientific papers in the field of smart public governance since 2013, the very concept of smart public governance in these papers is rarely defined. Furthermore, we note that within the research in the field of smart public governance, the studies related to smart cities are predominant, but (especially in recent years) the studies related to smart government are coming to attention. Researchers who pay the most attention to smart public governance come from English-speaking countries (e.g., the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland). They publish most of their scientific papers in scientific journals such as the Government Information Quarterly, Information Polity, Cities, Sustainability (Switzerland) and Sustainable Cities and Society. In the last two decades, research on smart public governance has focused on topics such as citizen engagement, citizen centricity, e-services, sustainability, urbanization, and technological savvy.

Source: ARISTOVNIK, Aleksander, RAVŠELJ, Dejan, UMEK, Lan, VUJKOVIĆ, Petra. Mapping thematic trends and analysing hotspots in smart public governance research: a bibliometric analysis. V: EGPA Conference, Brussels, 7-10 September 2021 : conference du GEAP : resilience and agility in public institutions in times of crises. Brussels: EGPA. 2021, str. 1-28.  https://egpa-conference2021.org/index.php. [COBISS.SI-ID 76541955]

30.06.2021

The most important articles in the field of smart public governance (SPG) in the period 1999-2021

As part of the bibliometric analysis of the field of smart public governance (SPG) for the period 1999-2021, the research group identified the most important articles related to the concept of smart city and smart governance. The presentation in Table 1 shows that the most cited articles in the field of SPG were published only in the last decade.

Within the literature on smart cities, six highly cited articles with more than 250 citations were identified. The most cited work in the literature is an article by Kitchin (2014), which has a total of 1,052 citations. The article refers to a critical analysis of existing projects at the local level that focus on the development of smart cities and the impact on big data. Journals that publish highly cited articles in the field of smart cities are GeoJournal, International Review of Administrative Sciences, Sustainable Cities and Society, Cambridge Journal of Regions and Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.

Subsequently, four highly cited articles with more than 40 citations were identified within the smart government literature. The most cited work in the literature is an article by Savoldelli et al. (2014), which has a total of 105 citations. In the article, the authors analyse in detail the adoption of e-government. Magazines that publish highly cited articles in the field of smart governance are Government Information Quarterly, Information Polity and Public Administration Review.

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Table 1: The most cited articles in the field of SPG
30.04.2021

Preliminary analysis of research hotspots in smart public governance research

The research team conducted a preliminary keyword co-occurrence network analysis to identify research hotspots in smart public governance research. The analysis is based on the Scopus database. A literature search in early April 2021 resulted in 606 documents on smart or intelligent government or governance published between 2000 and 2021.

Figure 1 shows the keyword co-occurrence network for smart public governance research, where the nodes represent keywords and the links the co-occurrence relations between keywords. It is conducted on the 40 most frequent keywords by consolidating keywords that describe the same phenomenon (e.g., smart government or intelligent government, smart governance or intelligent governance, etc.). Note that the node size is in proportion to the number of keyword occurrences, the link width is in proportion to the co-occurrences between keywords, while the node colour indicates the cluster to which an individual keyword belongs.

The results reveal five clusters or research hotspots in smart governance research, namely:

  1. smart city;
  2. smart government;
  3. e-government;
  4. sustainable development; and
  5. blockchain.
The latter was identified as the most recent and emerging research hotspot. Thus, smart public governance can be considered as an umbrella concept for many digital initiatives in the public administration on local and country level, fostering citizen orientation, sustainability, and disruptive technologies.

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Figure 1: Keyword co-occurrence in smart public governance researc
15.02.2021

Conceptual positioning of the concept of smart governance to other concepts

In February, the project carried out activities bound to the placement of the concept of smart governance to other concepts recognized in the literature and their correlation. It has been identified that there is currently no universal denomination of the terms below in the literature and that they are still under development but have received in the last decade great attention from the researchers. Detailed positioning of the concept can be seen in Figure 1.

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31.01.2021

Dynamics of the number of documents and citations in the period 1999-2020 in the field of smart governance

In January, the project conducted activities that upgrade the existing theoretical starting points. A search query of concepts related to smart governance for the last two decades (1999-2020) has produced 509 units of scientific literature where the analysis found that the number of documents, as well as the number of citations in the first decade (1999-2008), was extremely low (only seven documents were recorded).

The first signs of moderate growth in documents and citations are seen in the first part of the second decade (2009-2012), with the largest growth recorded in the second part of the second decade (2013-2020), where growth increases by as much as 68 times compared to the first decade.

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09.11.2020

A preliminary review of the scientific literature in the area of the Smart Governance

The project conducted activities that are essential from an aspect of preparing theoretical starting points. Accordingly, a preliminary review of scientific literature in the area of the Smart Governance was prepared. On 6th of November 2020 the project group collected 275 elements of scientific literature units with a search query "smart governance".

Later on, collected elements were sectioned into the four different pillars. The research group noted out that more than a half of the collected articles (54%) are tied to the "smart city" and barely one-third (35%) of them are related to the "public sector". There are far few articles that allude to the "private sector".

In addition to previous tasks, the research group identified 9% of review paper articles which will be relevant later on for identifying different concepts inside the Smart Governance area and in terms of defining the final search query for the relevant literature. The keywords based strategic diagram shows the identification of the relevant areas allude to the "smart governance" (Figure 1).

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Figure 1: Strategic diagram of academic literature in the area of the Smart Governance
10.09.2020

Kickoff meeting of the TRP HERCULES project

At the beginning of the project activities, a kickoff meeting of the TRP HERCULES project entitled “Developing a conceptual framework for citizen-centred smart public governance” was organized on 10 September 2020. The meeting was intended for the presentation of the project, review and presentation of the planned activities by individual work packages, coordination of the first tasks on the project and the schedule.

The emphasis of the meeting was mainly on preparatory technical and substantive activities.