E-Government in U.S. Cities: Enabling Engagement or Reinforcing Tradition
Brown, Adrian G.
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This research examines the adoption of e-government information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the purpose of promoting engagement and participation in municipalities in the United States. An important promise of ICTs is its potential to transform government by providing new forms of access to and participation in the policy process. Scholars from the early 2000s were optimistic about e-government development and progression, describing it as a process towards transformation. However, recent research concludes that the adoption of ICTs has been incremental with governments favoring the adoption of technologies that provide e-service or information over those that promote civic engagement and participation. Little is known about the factors that explain the adoption of transformative ICTs among U.S. cities or within departments in those cities. This study systematically investigates the predictors of adoption of ICTs that aim at e-participation using data from a national survey of government managers and content analysis of 500 city websites. Regression analysis results indicate that organizational and institutional factors are important predictors of e-participation adoption, while environmental factors are not statistically significant. However, different kinds of organizational and institutional factors have varying effects on e-participation. Prior adoption of ICTs and some manager perceptions about adoption outcomes matter while organizational structure and perceptions of external pressures do not. This research supports recent finding that suggest that municipalities are less likely to adopt e-participation ICTs and provides some support for theories of technology adoption in government.