Collaborative Governance and Cross-Boundary Information Sharing: Envisioning a Networked and IT-Enabled Public Administration

Theresa A. Pardo, J. Ramon Gil-Garcia, and Luis F. Luna-Reyes
Sept. 5, 2008


Paper prepared for presentation at the Minnowbrook III Conference, Lake Placid, New York, September 5-7, 2008, Thu, 05 Sep 2008.

Governments around the world are moving toward a more global perspective in their efforts to address complex social, political, and economic issues. New requirements for international cross-boundary collaboration, driven by this global view, demand a new understanding about how individual nations respond to public problems and how nations work together in response to transnational problems. In addition, new forms of government enabled by information technologies and made possible through new models of collaboration are emerging. The future of public administration is clearly linked to the development and management of new forms of collaborative governance and the use of information technologies. Globalization is also contributing to the internationalization of the public sector, in which cross-boundary collaboration and information sharing will happen not only within a country, but between nations. This paper contributes to the exchange of knowledge about the future of public administration by presenting a view that considers important trends in public management and public service around the world. As a backdrop we first present a discussion about the emergence in public administration toward post-bureaucratic organizations and interorganizational networks. E-government and cross boundary information sharing are then introduced as part of the new context of public administration. We then draw the focus back to the importance of collaboration and information sharing in transnational public problems and international cooperation and characterize the need for new capability in working across the boundaries of organizations, governments, regions, and nations. Finally, drawing on this discussion we outline four topics of critical importance for inclusion in the public administration classroom to fully prepare students to work in the government of the 21st Century; Post-Bureaucracy and Organizational Networks, Information Technologies and Inter-organizational Information Integration, Collaborative Governance and Interoperability: Creating policy, management, and technology capability, and Transnational Problems and the Internationalization of Public Administration. The new generation of public administrators must understand the importance of collaborative governance, information technologies, and the internationalization of complex social problems for the public administration of the twenty first century.

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