Governance Models for Collaboration and Coordination in Public Sector Digital Transformation

The project aims to develop a theory and a model of governance for e-Governance collaboration and coordination in different contexts.

Date Published
4 Mar 2023
Expected Start Date
04 Apr 2023
Expected End Date
31 Dec 2024
Project Type
Project Status

Governance is an enabler of sustainability, equity and social inclusion and is key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (Castro & Lopes, 2022; Misuraca, Medaglia & Aquaro, 2021). Electronic governance (e-Governance) similarly demands the engagement of multiple governmental agencies and organisational units with diverse focus, sometimes conflicting interests, and, in most cases, competing for common resources. Moreover, e-Governance involves the participation of a wide range of stakeholders, including citizens, NGOs, private companies, and others, which raises collaboration and coordination issues.

Past research finds that coordination and collaboration are crucial to the successful digital transformation of any country (Eynon & Margetts, 2007; De Vries, Bekkers & Tummers, 2016; Meijer, 2015). Approaches for coordination and collaboration have been key research areas since late 1990. Often linked to the so-called e-Government stage and maturity models, these have been criticised for being too sequential and not anchored in actual government practice (Meyerhoff Nielsen, 2020). Cross-governmental coordination structures and external collaboration revolve around a set of essential elements, including mechanisms for governing decision-making, legal changes, prioritisation, coordination processes, monitoring, measurement, funding, benefits realisation, and whether the e-Government Strategy is legally binding for one or all levels of government (Meyerhoff Nielsen & Yasouka, 2014). Influenced by contextual factors, the outcomes of e-Governance depend on establishing adequate approaches for promoting collaboration and carrying out work that aims at achieving common goals that involve shared ownership (Torfing & Triantafillou, 2013). Moreover, for ensuring either effective horizontal coordination between government organisations on the same level – different ministries, agencies, and policy sectors – or vertical coordination – between parent ministry and subordinate agencies and bodies in the same sector (Christensen & Lægreid, 2008).

Choosing an appropriate governance model for cross-governmental collaboration and coordination (henceforth referred to as governance models) is a challenging task. Depending on the context,  one model may be more suitable compared to another. Whichever governance model is chosen, the choice must be grounded in both theoretical and practical knowledge. While case studies are a source of insights and key to bridging practice and theory, these are often based on single cases and different contextual, conceptual and analytical frameworks. Considering the increasing interest in e-Governance and its importance in promoting an inclusive, sustainable, and transparent public sector, the need for research focusing on its collaboration and coordination models is most important.


The project's objectives are:

  • Establish a contingency theory that expounds the situations and the conditions that favour the suitability of different governance models in public sector digital transformation at the national level that involve pursuing higher levels of digitalisation;
  • Contributes to the UNU-EGOV Core Research Programme 2020-2024 by deepening an understanding of digital transformation and innovation processes for socio-economic development and digital inclusion and contributing to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Develop insights pivotal to UNU-EGOV activities as a service-providing entity in the e-Governance domain, namely, to ground the production of recommendations regarding the design of e-Governance at the national level. In particular, the implications and impacts of established and emerging digital technologies on governance and regulations and policies as the primary governance instruments.

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