The digital transformation of society raises high hopes for the improvement of designing and implementing public services. It is often said that technological advancement may foster co-production practices and promote citizens’ engagement. Yet despite a growing number of studies on the role of ICTs’ on co-creation practices, the knowledge on how digital technologies actually impact the quality of the co-production processes and citizen engagement is still limited.
Within the Horizon 2020 INTERLINK project, Radboud and DEUSTO universities are working together to address this gap.
The INTERLINK project provides the unique opportunity to research the impact of digital technologies on the quality of co-production processes from a technological perspective as well as a public administration perspective with an interdisciplinary approach that combines a technological and a public administration perspective. Together, the universities developed a conceptual framework on the quality of co-production and translated it into a survey in order to understand the perceptions and assessments of digitally co-produced services.
The Paper of the Radboud University on the quality of the digital co-production
Based on this collaborative endeavor, Radboud University has been working on a paper focusing on the following question: How does the perceived quality of digitally co-produced services influence levels of acceptance and trust among civil servants and citizens?
Acceptance is understood as the attitude towards a specific service and trust as a broader attitude towards institutions and public services. Building on the literature of both technology studies and public administration research, it can be argued that acceptance and trust of digitally co-produced public services can be understood as an effect of the quality of such services.
The article will propose a comprehensive understanding of quality that includes a whole range of already existing product – and user-based indicators (e.g. effectiveness, efficiency, access, reliability).
Additionally, the Radboud team argues for the inclusion of value-based indicators to account for the specific context of digitally co-produced services in the public sector (e.g. inclusiveness, participation). Hereby a gap is filled in research as such a value-perspective is often neglected and as an overall multi-faceted approach lacks to understand quality in the digital co-production of public services.
The Paper will be presented during the 2022 IRSPM Conference
After the first draft of the article is finished, the Radboud team will present it during the International
Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM) conference which will take place on 19-22 April. The theme of the online conference is Facing the future: Evolving social-political-administrative relations and the future of administrative systems’. The presentation will take place on Wednesday the 20th of April, as a part of panel 14: Digital transformation in the public sector. This panel focuses on the digital transformation of the public sector, understood in terms of the effort to revise services and core processes of the government beyond traditional efforts based on information and communication technologies.
The paper was accepted for this panel, as it works towards a framework to provide empirical evidence on the impact of the digital transformation in relation to co-production processes. Within panel 14, many unanswered questions will be discussed in light of the digital transformation. The Radboud team aims to contribute to this discussion, by proposing the conceptual framework on the quality of digital co-production.