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SGER: E-Government in Rural Communities: Developing a Customer Service Approach to Enhancing Civic Engagement      (Back to Search Results)


Grant Number: 352382

  • Description: Standard Grant
  • Associated Project:
  • Award Date:
  • Award Period: 2004-01-15 to 2004-09-30
  • Amount: $ 20000.00

Primary Investigator:
Jane Jelinski

Researchers
Jane Jelinski

Technology:

Government Domain:

Primary Institution:
Montana State University

Project Home Page:
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Abstract:
The two-fold goal of the research activities described in this proposal is to assess readiness and lay the groundwork for a novel e-government initiative among Montana local governments. The introduction of the new forms and technology of e-government in cities and counties with small populations, few resources, and slight Internet experience will likely encounter a variety of obstacles. The initiative, by adopting a simple and flexible customer service approach to providing information and communicating with constituents, aims to ease the transition while providing mechanisms to strengthen government-citizen interaction and sense of community. The research questions to be studied under the main initiative concern the effect of introducing e-government information services on the attitudes, perceptions, and practices of both government agencies and citizens. Is there a change in openness or responsiveness on the part of government? How are public trust, engagement, and understanding of issues affected? How are actual practices altered, including the processes by which citizen queries or complaints are made and responded to, and by which dissemination of information to the public is managed? These questions will be investigated via surveys, interviews, ethnographic observation, and web site usage analysis. Studies will cover both government personnel and the public, and will be carried out before, during, and after implementation of the initiative. Assessment and preparation activities to be undertaken under the current proposal include: identification of potential city and county participants and evaluation of their readiness; examination of related literature and current local e-government practices; design and testing of survey instruments and protocols; and creation of a demonstration web site. The proposed activity will advance the knowledge and understanding of local government officials of the effects of implementing technological methods of interacting with constituents, and will provide a broader impact by developing a model of e-government services that can be replicated by other local governments. As a collaboration among Montana State University, the Local Government Center, local government units and the private sector, this project offers a unique opportunity to advance the development of local e-government in sparsely populated, fiscally limited