Digitalization in public administration : A comparative case study about digitalization in two municipalities and the differences between them

University essay from Södertörns högskola/Företagsekonomi

Abstract: Background and problem: The technological development in recent times has created new norms for daily life. Therefore, the public sector is currently going through a process of digitalization to meet the needs of modern citizens. However, the process has proven to be extremely challenging for municipalities across the nation. As studies have shown there are significant differences between municipalities regarding their efforts related to digitalization. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to develop an understanding of how municipalities are working on digitalization and why there are significant differences between them. Furthermore, the study aims to gain knowledge about the organizational structures, strategies and solutions that have been implemented by municipalities to achieve their objective. Method: To fulfil the purpose of the study, a comparative case study of two separate municipalities has been conducted. Furthermore, two additional departments with each respective municipality have been included to provide additional depth and variation in this study. The empirical information has been collected through semi-conducted interviews and public documents. Conclusions: Digitalization in municipalities is an on-going process, which is complicated in its nature since it represents enormous organizational changes. In order to deal with the challenges of digitalising, municipalities in both cases in this study have developed their own strategies, which are based on an translation of the national strategy for digitalization. Furthermore, both municipalities have created similar organizational structures to lead the process of digitalization. However, it has been concluded in this study that digitalization of municipalities is largely driven by individual enthusiasm, instead of formal structures. There are certain additional factors, which affect digitalization in both municipalities and ultimately create differences between them, these factors include – organizational history and maturity, degree of centralisation, resources, decision-making and trust amongst decision-makers.

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