National Center for Digital Government Working Paper Series
This paper discusses the technology enactment framework, an analytical framework to guide exploration and examination of information-based change in governments.1 The original technology enactment framework is extended in this paper to delineate the distinctive roles played by key actors in technology enactment. I then examine institutional change in government by drawing from current initiatives in the U.S. federal government to build cross-agency relationships and systems. The U.S. government is one of the first central states to undertake not only back office integration within the government but also integration of systems and processes across agencies. For this reason its experience during the past ten years may be of interest to e-government researchers and decision makers in other countries, particularly those in countries whose governments are likely to pursue similar experiments in networked governance. The summary of cross-agency projects presented here introduces an extensive empirical study, currently in progress, of these projects and their implications for governance. I present two brief case studies, focused on the management of federal grants and on electronic rulemaking, to illustrate and ground the analytical framework. The central argument of the paper is that technology enactment requires considerable knowledge and skill on the part of actors in order to construct networked governance systems. Rather simple technological systems require extensive reconceptualization of policy, processes, culture and management behavior to mediate between bureaucratic and networked arrangements.