Gaining the world and losing the soul? trust change in electronic government

Grimsley, Mike and Meehan, Anthony (2008). Gaining the world and losing the soul? trust change in electronic government. In: 16th European Conference on Information Systems, 9-11 Jun 2008, Galway, Ireland.



We describe an empirical study of reported changes in citizens' trust when an electronic government system supporting the allocation of public housing was introduced by a local government body in south east England. (Similar systems have been introduced in most local government districts of the UK.) We present an analysis of survey data (521 respondents) showing that users of the electronically-mediated service were much more likely to report a reduction in trust as a result of their experience whilst people who used a more traditional mode of service delivery were much more likely to report improved trust. Using multivariate modelling approaches, we identify those aspects of respondents’ experiences which most influence the reported changes in trust, both positive and negative. We interpret these experiential factors in terms of clients’ needs when they are frustrated in their ability to contribute to the co-production of a public service. We suggest that the origin of the problem with the ICT-mediated mode of engagement with the service may be rooted in the deployment of a model of coproduction based upon e-commerce which was driven by central government targets and the related political agenda for service reform.

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