One Inch Wide and One Inch Deep: The Role of Policies in Shaping the Adoption of Open Standards and Software in Government

  • Kim Normann Andersen
  • Daniel Veit
  • Rony Medaglia
  • Helle Zinner Henriksen
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6267)


This paper presents a qualitative and quantitative study on the role of policies in Denmark and Germany in shaping the adoption of open standards and software in government. A comprehensive functionality test, surveys and interviews with suppliers and users in local authorities of both countries have been conducted, together with policy document analyses. While in Denmark open document standards have been bindingly introduced by legislation, Germany adopts a blended top-down and bottom-up approach, only providing recommendations. Although, as a result, it seems that Denmark ranks much higher in the adoption of open document standards, the overall picture is blurrier, as for instance only a small minority of public employees use open source software. The authors also suggest that the need for open standards might actually be overstated, as the rapid adoption of e.g. the PDF document format has made it in practice almost irrelevant.


Electronic government Open standards Public policy IT governance 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Zhu, K., Kraemer, K.L., Gurbaxani, V., Xu, S.X.: Migration to Open-standard Interorganizational Systems: Network Effects, Switching Costs, and Path Dependency. MIS Quarterly 30, 515–539 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    IDABC. Promotion of Open Document Exchange Format (2007),
  3. 3.
    IDABC. TAC Approval on Conclusions and Recommendations on Open Document Formats (2008),
  4. 4.
    Andersen, K., Beck, R., Wigand, R., Bjørn-Andersen, N., Brousseau, E.: European E-commerce Policies in the Pioneering Days, the Gold Rush and the Post-hype Era. Information Polity 9, 217–232 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Damsgaard, J., Lyytinen, K.: The Role of Intermediating Institutions in Diffusion of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): How Industry Associations in the Grocery Sector Intervened in Hong Kong, Finland, and Denmark. The Information Society 17, 195–210 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Henriksen, H.Z., Damsgaard, J.: Dawn of E-government – an Institutional Analysis of Seven Initiatives and their Impact. Journal of Information Technology 22, 13–23 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Rogers, E.M.: Diffusion of Innovations, 5th edn. New Press, New York (2003)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Andersen, M.B., Hørlück, J., Kristensen, J., Andersen, K., Pedersen, M.K.: Rapport om implementeringen af ODF og OOXML i offentlige myndigheder fra 1. National IT and Telecom Agency, Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Copenhagen (January 2008),
  9. 9.
    Veit, D.J., Parasie, N.P.: Can National E-Government Standards find Acceptance? In: Proceedings of the 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), E-Government Track (2009)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Muir, A., Oppenheim, C.: National Information Policy Developments Worldwide: Electronic government. Journal of Information Science 28, 173–186 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    King, J.L., Gurbaxani, V., Kraemer, K.L., McFarlan, F.W., Raman, K.S., Yap, C.S.: Institutional Factors in Information Technology Innovation. Information Systems Research 5, 139–169 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Andersen, K. (ed.): EDI and Data Networking in the Public Sector: Governmental Action, Diffusion, and Impacts. Kluwer, Amsterdam (1997)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Andersen, K., Bjørn-Andersen, N., Wareham, J.: Using the Public Sector as a Locomotive for Electronic Commerce: The case of Denmark. In: Bled International Conference on Electronic Commerce, Slovenia (1998)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Eckhoff, T.: Statens styringsmuligheter, Tanum-Nori, Oslo (1987)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    German Federal Ministry of the Interior: Standards and Architectures for eGovernment Applications, Office of the IT-Beauftragten der Bundesregierung, CIO (2008),
  16. 16.
    Veit, D.J., Parasie, N.: Umfrage zu E-Government Standards: Empirische Studie in deutschen Kommunen. Fachbericht 20070329 (2007),
  17. 17.
    Reifsteck, A., Parasie, N., Veit, D.J.: Gemeinschaftliche Entwicklung von E-Government Anwendungen: Empirische Studie in deutschen Kommunen. Fachbericht 20090131 (2007),
  18. 18.
    Statistics Denmark: Den offentlige sectors brug af IT. Annual reports. Statistics Denmark, Copenhagen (2005-2009)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kim Normann Andersen
    • 1
  • Daniel Veit
    • 2
  • Rony Medaglia
    • 1
  • Helle Zinner Henriksen
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Applied ICT (CAICT)Copenhagen Business SchoolFrederiksbergDenmark
  2. 2.Chair of Business Administration and Information SystemsUniversity of Mannheim, SchlossMannheimGermany

Personalised recommendations