Local Municipality Public Value Co-Creation through Democratic E-Governance: A Mixed Method Analysis of Korean Municipal Government Websites
The use of technology in the public sector can improve the course of government by increasing efficiency and effectiveness, and bolster democratic principles in governance. The aforementioned can occur by employing transparency, accountability, and citizen engagement, thereby bringing the state-citizen relationship closer. Despite the crucial roles of local governments in promoting democratic practices in the e-government context, prior studies tend to have paid limited attention to e-government practices at the local level. Moreover, it was criticized that early e-government practices focused mainly from the provider’s perspectives and lost the sense of purpose. In this respect, integrating the concept of public value creation into the discussion of digital government may help this new mode of governance live up to its premises. With the gap in the current literature, this article presents a theoretical framework that portrays how the government and its citizens can interact through technology-mediated devices in the decision-making process, namely democratic egovernance, which leads to public value co-creation. Based on the theoretical ground, we analyzed municipal government websites in Korea, as its e-government system at the national level has been internationally regarded as one of the best practices. With a mixed method approach that integrated a quantitative approach to the website evaluation and qualitative analyses of in-depth interviews, we aimed to investigate the extent to which local democratic e-governance developed, and how public value was co-created through democratic e-governance in Korea. This study contributes to the literature by sharing the link between e-government studies and public value theory with substantiated evidence, and it discovered both prospects and latent challenges of public value co-creation through e-governance at the local level.
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