E-Governance in Central Texas: Patterns of e-Gov Adoption in Smaller Cities
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Electronic government, or e-Government, has become a staple of local governments across the US. While nearly every large city has embraced this trend, the extent that small cities (less than 5000 population) have adopted e-government practices is virtually unknown. The purpose of this research is to describe the patterns of adoption of electronic government (e-gov) by smaller municipalities in Central Texas. Governments at all levels should recognize the capability of e-Government to provide external and internal service channels (Layne and Lee 2001, 129). Small local governments face a dilemma due to lesser economies of scale and less demand for e-government from residents. However, an emerging population of digital natives increasingly views electronic access to and by government as both essential and a mark of competence (Welch 2005, 378).
This research uses content analysis and a simple survey to assess the patterns of adoption of e-gov by the 36 municipalities in the Texas Capital Area Council of Governments area that range in population from 500 to 5000. It finds that small cities have high rates of adoption for electronic services (e-Services) and electronic administration (e-Administration). However, the rate of adoption of information and communications technologies to advance citizen empowerment (e-Democracy) is assessed as "fair". Recommendations are included to authenticate official presence, increase transparency, and examine policies inhibiting local governments' responsiveness.