To centralise or decentralise? An e-government perspective

Amy Cooper


OECD research demonstrates that many countries implementing e-government opt to structure virtual administrations differently to their traditional bureaucracies. A government switching between administration styles makes evident the still unresolved debate as to the optimum form of administration to achieve successful outcomes. Federalism is based on dividing power across regions that tailor outcomes specific to their native population. In contrast, centralisation theory considers concentrated power to axiomatically ensure the best and most efficient results. To investigate whether either theory holds in the virtual arena, a web analysis was performed on one country each from the OECD’s three e-government administration styles—decentralised, balanced and centralised—to determine which produced the best quality outcomes. Results demonstrate that centralisation theory, having long promised better outcomes with less public expenditure, does not hold in the virtual arena. 

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