Administrative e-Communication Policy with the Public
This chapter will examine the effectiveness and practicality of the SMG’s administrative communication through various channels beyond the traditional ones. The four major administrative e-communication policies of the SMG will be the focus of analysis in this chapter: (1) Eung-Dap-so, (2) mVoting, (3) 120 Dasan Call Center and (4) Oasis of 10 Million Imagination.
More specifically, this chapter will explore each SMG’s administrative e-Communication policies with respect of their Policy Goals, Performance & Outcomes, Policy Details and Procedures. This chapter will also review the specific cases of other international municipal governments and offer a general applicability of the SMG’s e-Communication policies. Based on the comparative analyses, this chapter will then provide the essential factors to consider for the adoption and export of administrative e-Communication Policy for the better understanding of e-communication with the public.
The social media and social network service (SNS) are used as a channel for direct communication with the public. This communication network of SNS can be an effective tool for citizens – the recipients of public services – to better comprehend the various policies and viewpoints of the SMG on many issues.
The ongoing communication channel, which is currently available through web sites open to citizens, can be turned into a unique social network service that can be used by citizens, without being limited by time and space. For example, the City of Seoul has a disaster prevention plan which links all relevant organizations into a tightly knit network. The city would be able to use all possible channels, including SNS, mobile devices, Smart TVs, and call centers to provide a real-time warning and response system.
In this chapter, the four major communication policies of Seoul Metropolitan Government will be introduced: (1) Eung-Dap-So, (2) mVoting, (3) 120 Dasan Call Center and (4) Oasis of 10 million Imagination.
Table 2-1. represents the changes in the SMG’s administrative communication tools with its citizen. The table exhibits the efforts of the SMG to devise diverse methods to promote the Seoul citizens’ direct participation regardless of the channels. As shown in the table, the SMG’s administrative online channels have been diversified since the 1990s so as to improve governance.
Specifically, SMG’s internet-based communications with City of Seoul citizens has evolved considerably by incorporating the traditional government’s functions (i.e., hearing citizens’ opinions and handling complaints) with those of broader citizen participation (i.e., receiving policy and administrative proposals and engaging citizens to participate through electronic voting).
Table 2-1. History of SMG’s Administrative Communication Policies
|Periods||1999 - 2002||2003 - 2006||2006 - 2010||2011 - 2015|
|Master Plans||Basic plan for Informatization||Master plan for Informatization||u-Seoul Masterplan||Smart Seoul Masterplan|
|Key Concepts||Computerization||Online Information||Networking||Smart Technologies|
|Administrative Tools||e-Opinions||Comments to Mayor via Home Page||Open Website||Open and Interactive Platform Home Page|
|e-Complaints||One-Click Digital Complaint System||Social Media Center||Eung-Dap-So (Civil Complaint and Proposal Integrated System; CCPIS)|
|e-Proposal||Cyber Policy Forums||Oasis of Ten Million Imagination|
|Features||Preparatory Stage||Internet Stage||+ Mobile Stage||+ SNS Stage|
The government communication through social media has become vital in order to respond to these challenges and cope with the development of WEB 2.0 and Government 3.0 of Korea (GOV 3.0). In this context, the SMG has been trying to keep up with the recent development trends and has been spearheading the global leadership in e-Government. In particular, the SMG’s Social Media Usage is rated remarkably in (1) Accessibility, (2) Immediacy, (3) Consistency and Reliability and (4) Efficiency.
The primary purpose of this chapter is to examine the effectiveness and practicality of the government’s administrative communication through Social Media and Social Network Service. The four major policies of the SMG will be the object of analysis of this study; more specifically, the study aims to introduce the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s ICT-based communication policies; then, we will address the essential factors to consider for policy export and policy adoption.
Eung-Dap-So (Civil Complaint and Proposal Integrated System; CCPIS)
Eung-Dap-So is a communication channel with the public. To be more precise, it is an integrated system that receives and administers civil opinions, not only from the previous traditional channels such as telephone calls and in-person visits, but also from online and social network service (SNS).
mVoting (simply ask and everyone can vote through smg mobile voting app)
Figure 2-2. mVoting: Policy Introduction
Source. Seoul Metropolitan Government. (2014). Digital Seoul e-Government.
120 Dasan Call Center (Quick Question and Answer, Citizen-Centered Call Center)
Figure 2-3. 120 Dasan Call Center: Policy Introduction
Oasis (Oasis of 10 Million Imagination: Bringing Ideas into Reality)
Figure 2-4. Oasis (Oasis of 10 Million Imagination)
Implication: How do we prepare for e-Communication Policy?
- Leadership changes and administrative reforms both at the local and national levels
- Managerial willingness, including the Mayor’s and the key staffers’, for policy development
- Political dynamics between the City Government and key stakeholders
- Technological readiness, both in terms of availability in the commercial market and capacities already adopted by the government sector
- Both local and central ordinances and regulations facilitating Information, Communication and Technology (ICT)
- Level of democratic maturity and other environmental factors.
This concluding section (below) examines how municipal governments can support e-Government and e-communication initiatives, and provides lessons learned from the SMG case on how to support integrated services delivery efforts that could provide institutional and political coordination between stakeholders. Meaningful and successful lessons may be drawn from Seoul’s experiences.
1) Driving Factors of e-government and e-communication
The levels of e-Government performance and e-communication of a country depend on both governmental and societal factors. Intrinsically, e-Government itself is not only shaped by the government’s proactive initiatives, but also determined by political, economic, and technological readiness. According to Moon et al (2005), cost-effectiveness, technological availability and citizen’s accessibility restrict the feasibility of practices and operations in governments. They pointed out two major factors to drive e-Governments among nations by resolving such restrictions (Moon et al., 2005: 4). The framework is relevant for this study and it is important for municipal governments to identify these drivers of e-Government and e-communication.
- Level of Democracy – The level of democracy can be measured through the Freedom House Democracy Index that includes scores for a level of Corruption score, Civil Liberties, and Political Rights in a nation. In that context: 1) civil Liberties measures media independence, freedom of assembly, religious expression and political organization, as well as independence of the judiciary, and 2) political rights includes whether elections of political leaders are free and fair, the fairness of electoral laws, and self-determination by ethnic and minority groups (Moon et al, 2005: 6).
- Size of Government – The size of government is clearly related to the level of e-Government performance; and to measure the government size, total government expenditure can be utilized as a proxy indicator (i.e., government spending as a percentage of GNP is one measure for size of government) (Moon et al, 2005: 6).
- Level of Corruption – Level of corruption indicates government crimes that benefit individual officers, as well as the additional costs of delivering public services. This level can be measured by citizens’ perceptions in terms of judiciary independence, protection by law of financial assets and wealth, and neutrality of government in contracting and bribery practices (Moon et al, 2005: 6).
- Technology Literacy or Social Capital – Since e-Government inevitably arises from citizen participation and a bottom-up approach, level of education and literacy rate are major requirements for policy adaptation (Moon et al, 2005: 6).
- Economic Stability – As one major factor that makes e-Government adoption succeed, a country’s economic status is a substantial requirement. Economic condition and stability can be measured by inflation rate, exchange rate, budget surplus, saving rate and business conditions in a country (Moon et al, 2005: 5).
- Quality of Life or Human Development Index (HDI) – This indicator refers to components of citizen’s quality of life and well-being such as health, education, income level, expected life expectancy and educational attainment (Moon et al, 2005: 5).
- Internet Penetration – Since e-Government always requires access to the Internet, internet availability and the level of information technology are essential factors that determines the success of e-Government. Measuring Internet penetration is based on the population who can access and use the Internet, and possess computer and smartphones (Moon et al, 2005: 5-6).
Most importantly, e-Government is considerably related to the level of democracy in a country. It would probably not be an ideal form of government presence in a less democratic society. Less democratic government is less likely to advance e-Government due to the fact the government might not support transparent and interactive relationships with citizens. In particular, administrative communication through social media policy intrinsically requires contingent conditions as above, because it only becomes truly possible when the country’s high levels of citizenship, quality of life, democracy, and stabilized e-Government status are evident.
2) Barriers of e-government and e-communication
As society and technology advance, e-citizens in the information society require more from their governments. Within this context, e-Government would advance 1) the technological tools available, 2) accessibility that citizens and business will have, 3) their overall trust in internet-based channels and 4) their expectations of the types of e-services that should be delivered and how they should be delivered. However, due to the failure to respond to the ever-changing needs for public services, barriers to e-Government implementation and social media communication may result.
- Regulatory and Legislative Barriers – Since e-Government is an alternative form of delivering public services, government’s role is the fundamental consideration. The first role of government is the distinction between classical paper and digital processes in decision-making. The processes are arranged by legal legitimacy, and the complexity of regulations and requirements on an e-Government system hinders the establishment of e-Government agencies. Governments are required to organize their paper and digital forms according to different perspectives. In particular, privacy and security should be addressed through appropriate legislation, regulation and/or ordinances before the initial innovations of e-Government are possible (Lau, 2002: 5).
- Budgetary Barriers – Funding structure is vertically organized in most democratic governments and a core public management principle holds that an agency that distributes funding sources to achieve its goals and objectives. However, this vertical funding structure cannot be applied to all e-Government policies because the policies imply long-term commitments and overlap across other government agencies and private sectors (Lau, 2002: 5).
Source: “Challenges for e-Government Development” Lau (2002: 6), 5th Global Forum Reinventing Government Mexico City.
- Inconsistencies in Technical Frameworks and Infrastructure – e-Government agencies need a channel to communicate with each other and with citizens. First, information communication technology advances and its frameworks are required to deliver public service with mutual communication between agencies and citizens (i.e. Eung-Dap-So system of SMG) (Lau, 2002: 7).
- Radical Changes of Technology – Since the government’s social media communication policy is inevitably dependent on trends of the non-public environment in the private market system (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs, and Kakao Story), government often faces the challenge of fostering the development of e-Government. The development of technology in the private sector moves more rapidly and government sometimes fails to follow speedily. Governments are required to use well-proven approaches and better-standardized software to expand the scale of their service delivery (Lau, 2002: 14).
- Digital Divide – The digital divide is an important barrier to e-Government in which people who do not have access to the Internet would be unable to benefit from not only public services but also social media communication. The technology advances may inadvertently constrain citizen access to the services in e-Government, which only widens the digital divide. An established e-Government system does not necessarily require additional costs; however, the increase in digital division may bypass those who do not have knowledge and skills to access to the Internet and its technology. Recently, U.S. public libraries have expanded their mission so as to educate citizens about such access in accordance with the policy of the American Library Association. After the implementation of e-Government, governments still need to educate citizens who do not have enough skills and knowledge to access the Internet (Lau, 2002: 2-3).
- Citizen’s Perception and Seamless Services – Due to the risks of on-line “fracturing,” what types of public service e-Government delivers is a controversial issue with citizens. Technology development becomes an ideal tool that citizens are able to consult with government and government understands the expectations of citizens on public service. However, many citizens are still much pressed to express their opinions on government. Citizens would regard this policy of SMG’s e-government and e-communication as a useless tool that discourages of citizen participation. For this reason, the SMG incorporated integrated e-Government policies (so-called CCPIS, or Eung Dap So). Under this system, seamless online services aim to transcend the agency-based structure for providing information and public services (Lau, 2002: 4).
Figure 2-39. Factors impacting on e-Government and e-Communication Policy
Figure 2-40. The Relationship Between Social Media Communication and Digital Governance
Source: Holzer & Manoharan (2016), Seoul, Korea E-Governance: Best Practice for Policy Adoption, 2016 ASPA Annual Conference.
1. The study confirmed that SMG's social media policy is one of the most innovative ways of communicating in terms of (1) responsiveness and accountability (2) open government and (3) user-friendliness. Along with the SMG’s social media policy, open data initiatives have a significant effect in getting citizens engaged in civic activities, providing government transparency and encouraging user-sourced innovation. However, open social media policy is available in only certain areas (e.g. transportation, recreation services, complaints services, facility management) and they are still uni-directional. The SMG should consider adopting multi-directional communication and greater data accessibility for its smart services during its transition to Government 3.0.
2. In addition, the SMG's CCPIS (so-called Eung-Dap-So) is considerably useful not only to understand and interact with citizens' daily public needs, but also to manage alerts and notices in case of emergency situations. The SMG is especially proactive in utilizing private sector social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Kakao Talk (a free mobile application for instant messaging and texting. Over 170 million users worldwide and approximately 93% of smart phone users use this app in Korea). This allows for greater service penetration among a wider range of citizens. Although participation and engagement levels are very high through Eung-Dap-so, e-Government service development is mostly government-centered and there is not much room for the local entrepreneurial community to get involved. The SMG needs to take a more market-oriented and incremental approach to creating an open innovation platform for various stakeholders.
3. This study has found that in order to successfully implement the e-communication policy, the e-Government service needs to be based on a long-term strategy that takes into account the underlying political and social situations. For this reason, this study included the driving factors and barriers to e-Government, including conditions municipal governments need to work around if they are to evolve towards higher levels of e-Government development. As mentioned earlier, these driving factors and barriers may be perceived as opportunities and threats to developing social media policy, and it is important for municipalities to be aware of the situations in order to translate the overarching socio-political goals into concrete and achievable social media policy strategies which aim to increase citizen engagement and get citizens involved in the municipal governments’ decision making process. This study finds that the SMG has taken steady and effective e-Government strategies to achieve these socio-political goals, but is still lacking a comprehensive and effective incentive system to get more citizens motivated and involved in the SMG’s services and decision making process.
4. With regard to the internal policy adoption process of the social media policy, there are three distinguishable development stages in general: (1) Entrepreneurship and Experimentation Stage, (2) Constructive Stage and (3) Institutionalization Stage. Even though social media policy is relatively new in Public Administration, municipalities still tend to follow the general development stages of e-Government as they attempt to adopt the social medial policy. Although it has been extensively argued that the process of developing e-Government has shifted from the stage progression to non-traditional, non-sequential and intersecting chunks of development, we have witnessed that the model of stage development still holds true in the SMG case. For example, long-term strategic planning for e-Government, enhancing citizen participation, utilizing Big Data and transferring services to a mobile-based platform all require government-led planning and execution, and also collaboration between different agencies and public-private partnership during the early stages of the development.
Most importantly, as we have seen early in the development of e-Government, governments work with the legislative body to set up important legislative and legal frameworks to should keep the development efforts legitimate. Once infrastructure and institutional foundations are in place, governments can engage themselves in longer term sustainable strategies that can be categorized as the later stages of the development process.
5. Finally, although there are numerous factors that impact the success of e-communication policy implementation, the government's willingness and political leadership to implement the policy is the most paramount factor. In the case of the SMG, the study has found that centralized governance with a comprehensive strategy reinforces effective coordination and control, and prevents duplicate or overlapping investments in the services through IT divisions coordination across different agencies. In general, this duplication of services is considered a major problem, and that having a strong centralized authority leads agencies to make better investment decisions. However, every local municipality has its own embedded organizational culture, and cities need to consider how to coordinate between centralized and decentralized investment efforts. Therefore, when formulating the long-term development strategies, policy makers should consider how to best strike a balance between leadership and collaboration, and must remain consistent and must stick with the long-term strategy until the development results are fully realized.