Symposium: Transformation of Government in the Era of Smart Technology

Symposium: Transformation of Government in the Era of Smart Technology

Symposium Guest Editors:

Soonhee Kim (Professor, KDI School of Public Policy and Management)

Kim Normann Andersen (Professor, Copenhagen Business School)

Jungwoo Lee (Professor, Graduate School of Information, Yonsei University)

While there are great variations in the political environments, organizational structures, civil service systems, and administrative cultures of governments across the globe, governments all adopt similar technologies, and, to some degree, they also share many of the applications being built for government. A decade of computing in the 1990s led to widespread expectations that computers would be useful tools for reforming government as well as a means to get the administration paradigm shift toward New Public Management implemented. Yet, the 1990s also marked the birth of e-government and the area of online services, with more focus on government-to-citizen interaction through the Internet. Indeed, public administration worldwide has pushed to adopt new technologies to help not only to enhance efficiency, transparency, and accountability, but also to strengthen state competitiveness and sustainable development in an era of digital governance.

Meanwhile, a new technological tornado called smart technology or the second machine age is about to touch down in public organizations at the global level. Is government ready for this? How does the public administration community prepare for the transformation of government in the era of smart technology? What are the lessons from global communities so far?

As of 2018, a technology-centric momentum for public management and public policy is being built up by digital government and second machine age technologies. In this symposium, we are aiming at the possible transformation of the work environment, public management, and the public policy process due to the proclaimed shift towards smart technologies and second machine age technologies, including the IoT, AI, robots, big data analytics, and predictive social media analytics. Some of the expectations of how far the transformation can be made include visions of AI replacing specialist functions within the juridical and health care system, big data analytics eroding the platform that policy advisors used to populate, case handling being taken over by software robots, and smart offices enabling workers and managers to avoid commuting and to work anywhere.

For this symposium, we welcome submissions addressing the theoretical and practical agendas concerning the changing nature of work and challenges and opportunities for transforming public management and the public policy process with the emergence of the smart technology. In particular, we welcome theoretical, empirical, and practically relevant research papers that deal with (but are not limited to) the following issues and questions:

The changing nature of work in public sector: How do public organizations prepare and adopt smart work provision for future works? What are the ongoing changes in the routines of frontline government services due to advanced smart technology? What are the implications for workforce planning, succession planning, and leadership development in the human resources management office? What are the implications for training and education programs for future workforce competence in the public sector? How can public organizations proactively engage in work process innovation, responding to technological opportunities and challenges?

Implications for public management: What could be a new model of bureaucracy, which reflects and supports the creation of smart and intelligent government with the adoption of the new advanced technology? Beyond the era of e-government and digital governance, what public management innovation strategy could be developed to enhance the quality of service focused on individualized citizen-centered government? What are the implication of smart technologies or the second machine age for public values, including ethics, integrity, fairness, privacy, accountability, and transparency? What are the global examples of the institutional changes and strategies implemented in public organizations to adopt and exploit different of technologies?

Opportunities and challenges of public policy process: What are the opportunities for creating data-driven policy processes, including agenda setting and policy formulation, implementation, and monitoring? What are the national and global challenges of regulation policy dealing with privacy, data ownership, and security? What are the opportunities for creating a culture of inclusive policy decision-making concerning stakeholder engagements, citizen participation, public-private partnerships, and collaborative governance?

We welcome submissions with a variety of methodologies, including field observations, case studies, surveys, experimental studies, and qualitative interviews. We do not accept papers with literature reviews as the primary focus. Yet, we do expect all submissions to explain which research gap(s) the paper is nested in and to give an explicit account of the potential contributions to theory and/or practice.

Review process and timeline

January 7, 2019 or earlier: Prospective authors need to submit a paper proposal (maximum 700 words) via email to, the coordinating editor for this symposium issue.

February 1, 2019 or earlier: Authors will be provided with feedback and directions about proposal, including tentative decisions (within three weeks of submission).

May/June 2019: An international workshop of prospective authors might be held. Place and time will be determined in due course. All travel and accommodation costs associated with the workshop will be covered by the participants. Although authors of accepted proposals are strongly encouraged to attend for feedback, the invitation to attend the workshop and/or to submit a manuscript to the workshop does not guarantee favorable review and final publication in the symposium issue. Final decision will be made by the journal after peer review.

July 31, 2019: Accepted proposal authors should submit complete manuscripts through the online editorial system of PAR. All manuscripts will undergo the journal’s normal peer review process from this point. Authors should comply with PAR’s style guidelines in their submitted manuscript.