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Barriers and Drivers of Digital Transformation in Public Organizations: Results from a Survey in the Netherlands

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNISA,volume 12219)


The introduction of ICT is requiring public administrations to transform their organizations to take advantage of these technologies. Despite its significance, no studies so far collected quantitative evidence on (i) how and the extent to which this transformation is currently underway and (ii) which drivers and barriers are hindering and leading this transformation process. This article aims at filling this gap by surveying Dutch public administrations. In total, 46 responses from different organizations were collected that provide insight into their transformation efforts. Findings show that digital transformation efforts had only a partial impact at the organizational level: processes, employees’ duties and tasks and information systems are going through a deep transformation, whereas the social system seems to be less affected by the transformation process. Moreover, the analysis results suggest that external drivers are the main motivation for organizational transformation, and that expected internal barriers do not de facto result in digital transformation. These counterintuitive results suggest that in public administrations only exogenous input result in a sense of urgency and that the perceived barriers to transformation can be overcome if there is sufficient external pressure.


  • Organizational transformation
  • Transformational government
  • Socio-technical theory
  • Barriers and drivers
  • E-government

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Correspondence to Luca Tangi .

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Appendix I – Questionnaire

  1. 1.

    From an organizational perspective, so far digitalization in your organization transformed: (1- strongly disagree; 5 - strongly agree):

    • Processes (reengineering of the existing processes, process management and control)

    • People (duties, tasks, complexity of work, competences)

    • Culture (endorsed values, personal and collective behavior)

    • Structure (standardization, centralization/decentralization, hierarchy, external relationships, flexibility)

    • Information Systems (IS) (introduction of new IS, replacing of the existing ones, integration amongst different IS, interoperability, IT infrastructure)

  2. 2.

    In your organization, the organizational transformation process that goes along with digitalization is hindered by: (1- strongly disagree; 5 - strongly agree)

    • Lack of available skills

    • Shortage of personnel

    • Lack of political support

    • Lack of managerial support

    • Organizational complexity

    • Lack of coordination among the departments/areas of the organization

    • Resistance to change

    • Bureaucratic culture

    • Fear of innovation

  3. 3.

    In your organization the organizational transformation process that goes along with digitalization is pushed by: (1- strongly disagree; 5 - strongly agree)

    • Strength of internal leadership

    • Internal dissatisfaction about the status quo

    • Expected benefits for the administration

    • Expected benefits for external actors (stakeholders and/or final users)

    • External pressure

    • External legal obligations

  4. 4.

    Public Administration:

    • Ministry

    • Administrative Organization

    • Regional Administration

    • Municipality

    • Other government

    • Private company

    • Other (specify).

  5. 5.

    Number of employees of the Administration:

    • ≤20

    • 21–100

    • 101–400

    • 401–2000

    • >2000

  6. 6.


    • Politician

    • Director

    • Pubic Manager

    • Public Servant

    • Other (specify)

  7. 7.

    Years of experience in the public sector:

    • Less than 5 years

    • More than 5 years

  8. 8.

    Years of work in the current organization:

    • Less than 2 years

    • More than 2 years

Appendix II – Reliability Test

  N. of item Cronbach’s alpha
OT_TOT 5 0,866
OT_Tecnical System 3 0,840
SB_TOT 6 0,646
CB_TOT 3 0,668
ED_TOT 3 0,674
ID_TOT 3 0,536
  1. Note. ID_TOT was excluded from the regression analysis due to the low Cronbach’s alpha. Cronbach’s alpha higher than 0.6 was considered acceptable, due to the exploratory nature of the study

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Tangi, L., Janssen, M., Benedetti, M., Noci, G. (2020). Barriers and Drivers of Digital Transformation in Public Organizations: Results from a Survey in the Netherlands. In: , et al. Electronic Government. EGOV 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12219. Springer, Cham.

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