Title: Deploying centres of excellence in government agencies

Authors: Frank Ulbrich

Addresses: Center for Information Management, Stockholm School of Economics, Box 6501, 11383 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Government agencies increasingly adopt strategic management ideas from the private sector. One such idea is the organisation of professional and advisory services into centres of excellence. The strategic management literature includes normative guidelines on how to deploy such centres. However, previous research has shown that organisations usually not just adopt management ideas in their entireties but translate them in line with individual contexts. Applying a case-study approach, this paper explores how the Swedish public-sector context influences the deployment of centres of excellence. It finds that none of the adopting agencies follow the guidelines outlined in the literature, fully utilise the idea nor benefit from it as initially proposed. The main reason for this divergence is the discrepancy between the government agencies| context and the original idea, including barriers such as job security, decentralisation and regulations. Contextual modifications are suggested to allow agencies benefit more fully from deploying centres of excellence.

Keywords: centres of excellence; government agencies; ICT; information technology; communications technology; organisational change; shared services; translation theories; private sector; professional services; advisory services; normative guidelines; Sweden; public sector; barriers; job security; decentralisation; regulations; contextual modifications; electronic government; e-government; strategic management; business models; model design; connected government.

DOI: 10.1504/EG.2010.035721

Electronic Government, an International Journal, 2010 Vol.7 No.4, pp.362 - 379

Available online: 03 Oct 2010 *

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