Data driven government: precondition and mediating variables to unleash the power of data
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National Institute of Development Administration. Library and Information Center
Thalinee Sangkachan (2020). Data driven government: precondition and mediating variables to unleash the power of data. Retrieved from: https://repository.nida.ac.th/handle/662723737/5512.
Data driven government: precondition and mediating variables to unleash the power of data
Open government data (OGD) are currently recognized as a strategic asset for public administration. However, there is still a knowledge gap on how data yield their value in practice. Little is known about how to use and unleash the power of OGD. The mismatch between the supply and demand sides may increase costs and limit the potential impacts of the data to produce changes in social, economic, and government outcomes. This dissertation raised simple, but very important questions by asking the following: “What are the determinants that influence the development of OGD?”; “Does OGD enhance government performance? If so, how?”; “Does OGD require government capabilities to unleash and expand its impacts? If so, what are the essential government capacities to activate the impacts?”; and “How do government capabilities and OGD impacts relate to each other?” Following the research questions, this dissertation has classified its objectives into five: (i) to perceive the essential preconditions influencing the development of OGD; (ii) to investigate how governments implement OGD principles; (iii) to explore how governments unleash the power of OGD and what government capabilities are required for that purpose; (iv) to investigate how OGD affects country development in terms of economic, social, and governance impacts; and (v) to provide policy recommendations for improving OGD and unleashing its power. Since the concept of OGD and its impacts is a developing concept, this research used mixed-methods in order to holistically understand and describe OGD development and its utilization. The study includes (i) case study analysis; (ii) quantitative analysis; and (iii) interviews as a supplementary tool. In order to select the case studies, the top-ten successful countries in OGD development ranked by the World Wide Web Foundation in 2016 were selected: the United Kingdom, Canada, France, the United States, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway. Additionally, Thailand was studied as well. For analyzing the OGD’s impacts, 79 OGD projects were used as case studies to analyze the taxonomy of the impacts. Document analysis using content analysis was used for the case studies in order to analyze the relevant documents, such as laws and regulations, government policies or plans, government evaluation reports, and previous research. For Thailand, interviewing key informants was used as a supplementary tool. After obtaining the results of the case studies, an OGD model was developed and was tested using the quantitative method. This research used secondary data from 115 countries and from 2016 in order to maintain causality (causes and effects), only for some indicators for data security in 2015. The data were analyzed using partial least squares-structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) using SmartPLS software. This research found that the results were consistent between the qualitative and quantitative methods. They showed that there are four linked aspects of data-driven government: (i) pre-conditions influencing the OGD development; (ii) OGD implementation; (iii) government capabilities (GC); and (iv) OGD impacts (DI). This supported the main argument of this study: although OGD has its value as an asset, it might not make direct impacts—it requires proper GC to unlock the power of the data. First, there are three major preconditions that governments must recognize for OGD development: information and communication technology investment, data security, and trust in the national government. According to the statistical analysis, the preconditions explained 70.2% of the variance in OGD, which represented a moderate level of explanatory power. Second, there were eight common principles of OGD implemented by the top-ten countries: completeness, timeliness, machine readability, open standards/open formats, open licensing, free of charge, non-discrimination, and open by default. Third, this research found seven key activation capabilities in unleashing the power of OGD: administrative cultural transformation, OGD policy, OGD management, data cooperation, government support, research and development, and citizen engagement. Last, OGD can have a valuable impact when the conditions are sufficiently supported in three main ways: economic impacts (i.e. economic growth, innovation, business development, operation improvement, smarter decision-making, better marketing); social impacts (i.e. citizen-centric service, service innovation, real-time services, boosting public-private partnership); and governance impacts (i.e. data-driven policy, transparency, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness, digitized government, anti-corruption). The two methods showed consistently that GC was critical to unlocking the value of OGD. The statistical analysis indicated that OGD explained 79.7% of the variance in GC, and that OGD together with GC explained 84% of the variance in DI, which was also considered a substantial level of explanatory power. GC fully mediated the relationship between OGD implementation and the impact of OGD impacts. The model had a high overall model fit (0.816). For Thailand, OGD implementation just began in 2015. From document analysis and interviews, Thailand is quite technologically ready but still needs time to make use of it. There are many challenges. For example, Thai citizens have little confidence in the government because they fear that the government will intervene and threaten their lives by using their data. Further, the Thai OGD system still needs to be developed in terms of the amount of data released and its quality; most of the disclosed OGD cannot be further used. Moreover, the work culture of the Thai government has remained an obstacle to the development of OGD as Thai government agencies have no culture of data collection, retention, or utilization. More importantly, there has been some misunderstanding that government data are owned by the state, not owned by the citizens. Thus, Thai people are far from driving the development and utilization of OGD. Additionally, although the statistically moderating analysis showed that political instability is not significant in the relationship between OGD and DI, the analysis of the Thai case was the opposite of that analysis. Covered with an authoritarian culture, centralized decision-making power, especially when ruled by a semi-military government, it has been difficult for Thai government agencies to release or share their data with the public since the data are a currency of power. The semi-military government has not used the available data to provide public services, has not cooperated with other local governments, and has ignored the citizens’ voice. The relationship between the political context and government capability is related to the administrative culture, values, the system structure, and bureaucrat behavior. The political issues should thus be further studied in terms of OGD formation, OGD development, and OGD utilization by taking into account a country’s conditions. This research suggests that improving OGD should be mostly concerned with IICT and DS as the important preconditions. Additionally, a government may follow the eight principles of OGD since applying these common principles will stimulate data provision and utilization. More importantly, by applying the research results and considering some of the limitations (i.e. limited financial resources, cultural restrictions, knowledge, and skills for OGD), this research suggests seven strategic phases for improving OGD provision and utilization: (i) launching an OGD vision to begin OGD policy, OGD management, and administrative culture transformation; (ii) finding the most correct and valuable data; (iii) beginning pilot projects of data utilization by including data providers and data users, such as public agencies, private sector or business units, startups, non-government units, academic institutions, researchers, and citizens; (iv) boosting data utilization by supporting knowledge, skills, or tools for data users; (v) promoting data impacts to communicate and raise awareness of OGD; (vi) expanding more valuable datasets in a variety of government agencies; and (vii) establishing an OGD system within government agencies in order to institutionalize new standards in government practices. As a result of these analyses, the dissertation made two primary contributions. First, it contributed to the literature on (i) the linkage between OGD supply and demand sides by presenting systematic mechanisms to unlock the power of OGD; (ii) “open by default” as a new finding for practical OGD principles; and (iii) the taxonomy of OGD impacts. Second, it explained how OGD is the focal point of the transition of public administration in the present and the future through driving more quality practices of public administration. In addition, since OGD is a developing concept, there are opportunities for future research to explore this issue, such as how political contexts influence OGD development and utilization, what the cultural conditions or cultural factors area that influence OGD, how the private sector or business units utilizes the OGD value to run its businesses in terms of services, products, and innovations, how to design and formulate a cooperative approach for the public and private sectors to develop and leverage OGD, and how to cultivate an OGD culture in the organization at the behavioral level. The latter may apply models of e-government applications (i.e. the technology acceptance model, the theory of reasoned action, the unified theory of acceptance technology and use of technology) in order to draw a conceptual framework to study why and how individuals will recognize the importance and benefits of OGD and implement it in practice. Further study of OGD in order to improve public administration will provide better, sounder, and smarter governance by making better evidence-based public policy, detecting fraud and errors, improving efficiency, reducing costs, and better understanding and forecasting social problems, needs, and trends.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Development Administration) (Ph.D.(Development Administration))