The Transformation of Work in Digitized Public Sector Organizations

Ursula Plesner, Lise Justesen, Cecilie Glerup

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine what the authors can learn from organization studies of digital technologies and changes in public organizations, and to develop a research agenda that allows us to produce systematic knowledge about how work practices in the public sector change with digitization.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on an analysis of the organizational studies literature on how digital technologies lead to changes in public sector organization. The literature comprises a wide range of different case studies, and they are analyzed with a specific focus on the insights they offer regarding bureaucracy, accountability and professionals.

Findings: The paper identifies various examples of how digital technologies change important aspects of public sector organizations relating to bureaucracy, accountability and professionals. It is a main finding that no systematic account exists in the organization literature of changes due to digitization specific to the public sector.

Practical implications: The knowledge produced by current and future research in this area is directly applicable for change management. To react productively on the digitization imperative, public managers need to deepen their knowledge of the organizational dimension of digitization.

Originality/value: The paper proposes an agenda for future research, which has the potential to produce both systematic and useful knowledge of how digitization changes central aspects of public sector organizations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1176-1190
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Digitization
  • Professionals
  • Public sector organizations
  • Accountability
  • STS
  • Bureaucracy

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