Opportunities and Challenges of Digitized Discretionary Practices: A Public Service Worker Perspective

Peter Andre Busch, Helle Zinner Henriksen, Øystein Sæbø

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Public service workers exercise discretionary power during policy implementation. Due to an immense diffusion of information and communications technology (ICT) in public service provision, they are increasingly exposed to reforms aiming at more efficient and fair decision-making. Whereas extant literature has found that ICT can both enable and constrain public service workers' ability to exercise discretion, we know less about underlying explanations for these inconclusive findings. This paper addresses this research gap by exploring how and why public service workers react to digitized discretionary practices. We draw upon institutional logics to show the underlying considerations of public service workers when they are faced with multiple conflicting demands from market-oriented goals of digitization and professional norms. To identify their reactions and underlying considerations, we have conducted a multiple case analysis of two Norwegian organizations; a district court and a tax administration office. We conclude that public service workers are positive to digitization when it promotes professional aspects of their work and that professional discretion is considered necessary to accomplish tasks of greater complexity.
Public service workers exercise discretionary power during policy implementation. Due to an immense diffusion of information and communications technology (ICT) in public service provision, they are increasingly exposed to reforms aiming at more efficient and fair decision-making. Whereas extant literature has found that ICT can both enable and constrain public service workers' ability to exercise discretion, we know less about underlying explanations for these inconclusive findings. This paper addresses this research gap by exploring how and why public service workers react to digitized discretionary practices. We draw upon institutional logics to show the underlying considerations of public service workers when they are faced with multiple conflicting demands from market-oriented goals of digitization and professional norms. To identify their reactions and underlying considerations, we have conducted a multiple case analysis of two Norwegian organizations; a district court and a tax administration office. We conclude that public service workers are positive to digitization when it promotes professional aspects of their work and that professional discretion is considered necessary to accomplish tasks of greater complexity.
LanguageEnglish
JournalGovernment Information Quarterly
Volume35
Issue number4
Pages547-556
Number of pages10
ISSN0740-624X
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Institutional complexity
  • Institutional logics
  • Institutional theory
  • Digitization
  • Digitalization
  • Discretion
  • Public service provision

Cite this

@article{13624564241447e098215cb31b47dba5,
title = "Opportunities and Challenges of Digitized Discretionary Practices: A Public Service Worker Perspective",
abstract = "Public service workers exercise discretionary power during policy implementation. Due to an immense diffusion of information and communications technology (ICT) in public service provision, they are increasingly exposed to reforms aiming at more efficient and fair decision-making. Whereas extant literature has found that ICT can both enable and constrain public service workers' ability to exercise discretion, we know less about underlying explanations for these inconclusive findings. This paper addresses this research gap by exploring how and why public service workers react to digitized discretionary practices. We draw upon institutional logics to show the underlying considerations of public service workers when they are faced with multiple conflicting demands from market-oriented goals of digitization and professional norms. To identify their reactions and underlying considerations, we have conducted a multiple case analysis of two Norwegian organizations; a district court and a tax administration office. We conclude that public service workers are positive to digitization when it promotes professional aspects of their work and that professional discretion is considered necessary to accomplish tasks of greater complexity.",
keywords = "Institutional complexity, Institutional logics, Institutional theory, Digitization, Digitalization, Discretion, Public service provision, Institutional complexity, Institutional logics, Institutional theory, Digitization, Digitalization, Discretion, Public service provision",
author = "Busch, {Peter Andre} and {Zinner Henriksen}, Helle and {\O}ystein S{\ae}b{\o}",
year = "2018",
doi = "10.1016/j.giq.2018.09.003",
language = "English",
volume = "35",
pages = "547--556",
journal = "Government Information Quarterly",
issn = "0740-624X",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "4",

}

Opportunities and Challenges of Digitized Discretionary Practices : A Public Service Worker Perspective. / Busch, Peter Andre; Zinner Henriksen, Helle; Sæbø, Øystein.

In: Government Information Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 4, 2018, p. 547-556.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Opportunities and Challenges of Digitized Discretionary Practices

T2 - Government Information Quarterly

AU - Busch,Peter Andre

AU - Zinner Henriksen,Helle

AU - Sæbø,Øystein

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - Public service workers exercise discretionary power during policy implementation. Due to an immense diffusion of information and communications technology (ICT) in public service provision, they are increasingly exposed to reforms aiming at more efficient and fair decision-making. Whereas extant literature has found that ICT can both enable and constrain public service workers' ability to exercise discretion, we know less about underlying explanations for these inconclusive findings. This paper addresses this research gap by exploring how and why public service workers react to digitized discretionary practices. We draw upon institutional logics to show the underlying considerations of public service workers when they are faced with multiple conflicting demands from market-oriented goals of digitization and professional norms. To identify their reactions and underlying considerations, we have conducted a multiple case analysis of two Norwegian organizations; a district court and a tax administration office. We conclude that public service workers are positive to digitization when it promotes professional aspects of their work and that professional discretion is considered necessary to accomplish tasks of greater complexity.

AB - Public service workers exercise discretionary power during policy implementation. Due to an immense diffusion of information and communications technology (ICT) in public service provision, they are increasingly exposed to reforms aiming at more efficient and fair decision-making. Whereas extant literature has found that ICT can both enable and constrain public service workers' ability to exercise discretion, we know less about underlying explanations for these inconclusive findings. This paper addresses this research gap by exploring how and why public service workers react to digitized discretionary practices. We draw upon institutional logics to show the underlying considerations of public service workers when they are faced with multiple conflicting demands from market-oriented goals of digitization and professional norms. To identify their reactions and underlying considerations, we have conducted a multiple case analysis of two Norwegian organizations; a district court and a tax administration office. We conclude that public service workers are positive to digitization when it promotes professional aspects of their work and that professional discretion is considered necessary to accomplish tasks of greater complexity.

KW - Institutional complexity

KW - Institutional logics

KW - Institutional theory

KW - Digitization

KW - Digitalization

KW - Discretion

KW - Public service provision

KW - Institutional complexity

KW - Institutional logics

KW - Institutional theory

KW - Digitization

KW - Digitalization

KW - Discretion

KW - Public service provision

UR - https://sfx-45cbs.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/45cbs?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&url_ctx_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&ctx_enc=info:ofi/enc:UTF-8&ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&rfr_id=info:sid/sfxit.com:azlist&sfx.ignore_date_threshold=1&rft.object_id=954925538153&rft.object_portfolio_id=&svc.holdings=yes&svc.fulltext=yes

U2 - 10.1016/j.giq.2018.09.003

DO - 10.1016/j.giq.2018.09.003

M3 - Journal article

VL - 35

SP - 547

EP - 556

JO - Government Information Quarterly

JF - Government Information Quarterly

SN - 0740-624X

IS - 4

ER -