A Web-Based System for Supporting Structured Collaboration in the Public Sector

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Abstract

The development of effective public policies and programs concerning the big problems of modern societies is an increasingly complex task. The social problems today are multidimensional and their solution requires close collaboration among various Public Organizations from many regions or even countries. Each individual organization involved possesses pieces of information, experience, knowledge and competence about the problem. Their values, interests and expectations are often different, or even conflicting, and have to be taken into account. Similar hold for the ‘high level functions’ of the Public Administration, such as decision making towards the development of legislation. This paper presents a web-based system that supports collaborative activities in the above setting. Through a well-structured discourse graph, the system facilitates the wide participation and collaboration of the Public Organizations involved in the solution of social problem and provides a series of knowledge management and argumentative decision making features. The use of the system is described through a detailed example concerning a debate about state vs. non-state universities, which has recently started in Greece.