Open Government: Exploring Patterns of Mobile Interaction Between Citizens and Local Government

  • Dennis HilgersEmail author
  • Lisa Schmidthuber


Public sector organizations increasingly make use of modern technology to interact with citizens. Whereas communication between citizens and public employees was characterized by one-way (e.g., front-desk) or two-way transaction (e.g., e-mail) in previous times, advances in information and communication technology provide new possibilities for citizen-government interaction such as platform-based collaboration. Leveraging innovative channels facilitates many-to-many collaboration, and enables an increased level of government openness in terms of information and citizen integration.

In this exploratory study, we investigate the patterns of citizen-government interaction by focusing on an example of mobile open government. We examine which groups of citizens use the mobile application and why they are motivated to collaborate with local government. Furthermore, we analyze the interaction between mobile government users and public employees and shed light on users’ perception of mobile government.

Survey findings provide evidence for a quite heterogeneous group of users in terms of age. However, the great majority of users are men. Users’ motivation for communicating with local government via mobile phone is mainly driven by their interest in forwarding concerns easily and contributing to city improvement. Regarding users’ activity in mobile government, results indicate that citizens with offline experience in communicating with public employees due to infrastructural defects write online reports less frequently than those without experience.

This chapter contributes to a better understanding about citizens’ role in open government and about how individuals leverage mobile technology to collaborate with local government. To stimulate and design citizen participation more efficiently, we give some future research directions.


Open government Open innovation Citizensourcing Mobile government Citizen participation Online collaboration Citizen integration Public innovation Austria 



The authors thank Stefan Etzelstorfer (City Administration of Linz) and Thomas Gegenhuber (Johannes Kepler University Linz) for the support providing the data.


  1. Aucoin P (1990) Administrative reform in public management. Paradigms, principles, paradoxes and pendulums. Governance 3(2):115–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bertot JC et al (2010) Using ICTs to create a culture of transparency: E-government and social media as openness and anti-corruption tools for societies. Gov Inf Q 27(3):264–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buell RW, Norton MI (2013) Surfacing the submerged state with operational transparency in government services. Harvard Business School Marketing Unit Working Paper, 14-034, pp 1–23Google Scholar
  4. Cabannes Y (2004) Participatory budgeting. A significant contribution to participatory democracy. Environ Urban 16(1):27–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dunleavy P, Hood C (1994) From old public administration to new public management. Public Money Manage 14(3):9–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Evans A, Campos A (2013) Open government initiatives. Challenges of citizen participation. J Policy Anal Manage 32(1):172–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gavelin K et al (2009) Open government. Beyond static measures. Accessed 24 Jul 2017
  8. Grimmelikhuijsen SG (2012) Linking transparency, knowledge and citizen trust in government. An experiment. Int Rev Adm Sci 78(1):50–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Grimmelikhuijsen SG, Meijer AJ (2014) Effects of transparency on the perceived trustworthiness of a government organization. Evidence from an online experiment. J Public Adm Res Theory 24(1):137–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hansson K et al (2015) Open government and democracy: a research review. Soc Sci Comput Rev 33(5):540–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Helbig N et al (2009) Understanding the complexity of electronic government. Implications from the digital divide literature. Gov Inf Q 26(1):89–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hilgers D (2012) Open government. Theoretische Bezüge und konzeptionelle Grundlagen einer neuen Entwicklung in Staat und öffentlichen Verwaltungen. Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft 82(6):631–660CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hilgers D, Ihl C (2010) Citizensourcing. Applying the concept of open innovation to the public sector. Int J Public Particip 4(1):67–88Google Scholar
  14. Hood C (1991) A public management for all seasons. Public Adm 69(1):3–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jaeger PT, Bertot JC (2010) Transparency and technological change. Ensuring equal and sustained public access to government information. Gov Inf Q 27(4):371–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Layne K, Lee J (2001) Developing fully functional E-government. A four stage model. Gov Inf Q 18(2):122–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lee G, Kwak YH (2012) An open government maturity model for social media-based public engagement. Gov Inf Q 29(4):492–503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lee H et al (2008) Research note: toward a reference process model for citizen-oriented evaluation of e-government services. Transf Gov People Process Policy 2(4):297–310Google Scholar
  19. Linders D (2012) From e-government to we-government. Defining a typology for citizen coproduction in the age of social media. Gov Inf Q 29(4):446–454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Local Government of Linz (2016) Media service. Accessed 15 Sept 2016
  21. Meijer AJ et al (2012) Open government. Connecting vision and voice. Int Rev Adm Sci 78(1):10–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mergel I (2015) Open collaboration in the public sector. The case of social coding on GitHub. Gov Inf Q 32(4):464–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Moon MJ (2002) The evolution of e-government among municipalities. Rhetoric or reality? Public Adm Rev 62(4):424–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mossberger K et al (2007) Digital citizenship. The Internet, society, and participation. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  25. Nam T (2012) Suggesting frameworks of citizen-sourcing via Government 2.0. Gov Inf Q 29(1):12–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Norris DF et al (2001) Is your local government plugged in? Highlights of the 2000 electronic government survey. International City/County Management Association, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  27. Ntaliani M et al (2008) Mobile government. A challenge for agriculture. Gov Inf Q 25(4):699–716CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Osborne D, Gaebler T (1992) Reinventing government. How the entrepreneurial spirit is transforming the public sector. Addison-Wesley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Pollitt C, Bouckaert G (2004) Public management reform, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  30. Schmidthuber L, Hilgers D (2015) Open government in Österreich. Neue Wege zu kooperativen Verwaltungsinnovationen. Das öffentliche Haushaltswesen in Österreich (3/4):33–48Google Scholar
  31. Schmidthuber L, Hilgers D (2017a) Browse or brush? An exploration of citizens’ interaction with their local government. In: Proceedings of the 50th Hawaii international conference on system sciences. Accessed 8 Jul 2017
  32. Schmidthuber L, Hilgers D (2017b) Unleashing innovation beyond organizational boundaries. Exploring citizensourcing projects. Int J Public Adm. Accessed 8 Jul 2017
  33. Schmidthuber L et al (2017a) Shedding light on participation in open government arenas: determinants of platform activity of web and app users. In: Proceedings of the 50th Hawaii international conference on system sciences. Accessed 8 Jul 2017
  34. Schmidthuber L et al (2017b) The emergence of local open government: determinants of citizen participation in online service reporting. Gov Inf Q 34(3):457–469Google Scholar
  35. Sintomer Y et al (2008) Participatory budgeting in Europe. Potentials and challenges. Int J Urban Reg Res 32(1):164–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thomas JC, Steib G (2003) The new face of government: citizen-initiated contacts in the era of e-government. J Public Adm Res Theory 13(1):83–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Trimi S, Sheng H (2008) Emerging trends in M-government. Commun ACM 51(5):53–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wareham J et al (2004) Wireless diffusion and mobile computing. Implications for the digital divide. Telecommun Policy 28(5):439–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. West DM (2004) E-government and the transformation of service delivery and citizen attitudes. Public Adm Rev 64(1):15–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wijnhoven F et al (2015) Open government objectives and participation motivations. Gov Inf Q 32(1):30–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wirtz BW, Birkmeyer S (2015) Open government. Origin, development, and conceptual perspectives. Int J Public Adm 38(5):381–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Public and Nonprofit ManagementJohannes Kepler University LinzLinzAustria

Personalised recommendations