Assessing the Relevance of Governmental Characteristics to Address Wicked Problems in Turbulent Times

New paper co-authored with James Denford, Gregory Dawson, and Aroon Manoharan has been published in Public Management Review.

Governments have long faced traditional bureaucratic problems and developed a set of mechanisms to handle them, but few studies have examined the government’s underlying characteristics in addressing such problems. Wicked problems – those with unclear definitions, causal complexity and conflicting goals – are increasingly emerging and are frequently observed in highly turbulent environments – those where variables behave in unpredictable ways. We study the relevance of a range of governmental characteristics during the COVID-19 pandemic and find that, while all government characteristics are sometimes relevant, no single characteristic is always relevant and so they are best treated as a portfolio.

To access the paper, please click [LINK]

Organizational robustness: A conceptual framework

New paper co-authored with Yancong Xie and Mohammad Jabbari published in Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management.

On organizational robustness: A conceptual framework

Understanding robustness and how organizations can configure and adapt is fundamental for their survival. In this paper, we build on the general system theory to conceptualize the underlying mechanisms of organizational robustness. We propose a framework that defines the fundamental notions and typologies of robustness— instrumental, structural, and cognitive robustness. We define mechanisms for these three categories of robustness as strategical mechanisms, functional mechanisms, and infrastructure mechanisms, and we explain how these mechanisms enable proactive, structured, or agile organizational responses to predictable and unpredictable crises.

To access the article [LINK]

Public AI Canvas for AI-Enabled Public Value

New paper co-authored with Samar Fatima, Christoph Buck, and Erwin Fielt published in Government Information Quarterly.

Public AI canvas for AI-enabled public value: A design science approach

Public agencies have a strong interest in artificial intelligence (AI) systems. However, many public agencies lack tools and frameworks to articulate a viable business model and evaluate public value as they consider investing in AI systems. The business model canvas used extensively in the private sector offers us a foundation for designing a public AI canvas (PAIC). Employing a design science approach, this study reports on the design and evaluation of PAIC. The PAIC comprises three distinctive layers: (1) the public value-oriented AI-enablement layer; (2) the public value logic layer; and (3) the public value-oriented social guidance layer. PAIC offers guidance on innovating the business models of public agencies to create and capture AI-enabled value. For practitioners, PAIC presents a validated tool to guide AI deployment in public agencies.

To access the paper: [LINK]

A Typology of Chatbots in Public Service Delivery – IEEE Software

New paper co-authored with Tendai Makasi, Alireza Nili, and Mary Tate has been published in IEEE Software.

Chatbots are being used in an increasingly wide range of public services and present several benefits for public service delivery. Our typology contributes to effective chatbot-mediated service delivery in the public service context.

To access the paper, please click [LINK]

Digital Transformation in the Resource and Energy Sectors

New paper co-authored with Parisa Maroufkhani, Robert K.Perrons, and Mohammad Iranmanesh published in Resources Policy.

The forces of digital transformation have delivered significant benefits like sustainable development and economic growth in a range of early adopter industries such as retail and manufacturing but, despite these potential benefits, the resource and energy sectors have been relative latecomers to digitalization simply because they are frequently slower to absorb new technologies. Here we present the results of a systematic literature review identifying the ways in which digital technologies have been applied in the oil and gas, mining, and energy domains. We applied content and descriptive analysis to evaluate and discuss 151 academic articles selected from the Scopus database. Two particularly interesting trends emerge from the analysis. First, over 75% of the papers were about the energy sector excluding the oil & gas industry, and only a small minority were from the mining or oil & gas sectors. Second, the most frequently discussed objective of digital transformation was the reduction of operational expenses. By surveying the different ways in which these innovations have been used in these industries and identifying trends and patterns in how digital technologies have been applied, the findings of this review deepen our understanding of the current state of digital technologies within the resource and energy sectors and, in so doing, shine a useful amount of light on the contributions that digital transformation has made to businesses in these sectors. This paper also highlights for future scholars, practitioners, and policymakers the six research areas that they should focus on in the future to help the resource and energy sectors accelerate the digital transformation process and improve their ability to deliver value with these innovations.

To access the article, please click [LINK]

International Dialogue: Emerging Technology for Response and Recovery

In a post-pandemic world, homeland security and border control agencies are being tasked with transforming how they respond and operate in a highly digitalized environment, while ensuring safety and prosperity of citizens and country.

Critical challenges that agencies face include the increasing volume of incidents and emergencies, overly complex trade and immigration processes, and evolving threats to borders and customs. Governments can leverage data, AI, intelligent automation, and other emerging technologies to address these complex challenges—while also freeing up critical human resources for high value missions.

To address these key issues, the IBM Center for The Business of Government hosted an international dialogue in September 2021 attended by CIOs and IT leaders with the Australia Department of Home Affairs, the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection. These three dynamic leaders engaged in an interactive dialogue, joined by nearly 50 attendees from across the globe.

I draw on this discussion to produce a report providing keen insights about leveraging technologies to improve operations and security across borders. Participants addressed supply chain assurance, opening borders amidst the global fight against COVID-19, and the role of data, AI, and other technologies to support border security. The wide-ranging discussion also touched on addressing the needs of the future, anticipating new threats, and developing response strategies. These strategies—which rest on hybrid, multi-cloud environments—include operational capabilities that can stand up “on demand” to address rapidly shifting threats.

To read the report, please click here.

Interagency Collaboration within the City Emergency Management Network

New paper co-authored with Bo Fan and Zhoupeng Li published in Disasters.

Interagency collaboration within the city emergency management network: a case study of Super Ministry Reform in China

Emergencies continue to become ever more complex; responding to them, therefore, often is beyond the capabilities and capacities of any single public agency. Hence, collaboration among these actors is necessary to prepare for, respond to, and recover from such events. This seldom occurs in an effective or efficient manner, however. Drawing on resource dependence theory and the concept of social capital, this paper reveals that different types of collaborative relationships exist within the collaborative network. Super Ministry Reform of Emergency Management in China serves as a case in point. By evaluating network efficiency and classifying the collaborative relationships of involved government agencies, four types are identified: resource-redundant; resource-complementary; resource-dependent; and resource-isolated. The different influences of collaborative relationships explain why the reform is not that effective, although it has led to the merger of several core departments in the emergency management network. The findings are a reminder to consider network structure and collaboration types when engaging in institutional design.

To access the article: [LINK]
To access a full-text, read-only version of the article: [LINK]

 

What are the key factors affecting smart city transformation readiness? Evidence from Australian cities

New paper co-authored with Tan Yigitcanlar, Kenan Degirmenci, and Luke Butler published in Cities.

Transformation into a prosperous smart city has become an aspiration for many local governments across the globe. Despite its growing importance, smart city transformation readiness is still an understudied area of research. In order to bridge this knowledge gap, this paper identifies the key factors affecting smart city transformation readiness in the context of Australian cities. The empirical investigation conducted in this study places Australian local government areas (n = 180) under the smart city microscope to quantitatively evaluate, through a multiple regression analysis, the key factors affecting their urban smartness levels—a proxy used for smart city transformation readiness. The findings disclose that the following factors determine about two-thirds (65%) of the smart city transformation readiness: (a) Close distance to domestic airport; (b) Low remoteness value; (c) High population density; (d) Low unemployment level, and; (e) High labour productivity. The study findings and generated insights inform urban policymakers, managers and planners on their policy, planning and practice decisions concerning smart cities.

To access the paper, please click [LINK]

What Explains Governments Interest in Artificial Intelligence?

New paper co-authored with Samar Fatima, Greg Dawson, and Jim Denford published in Economic Analysis & Policy

Since 2015, several countries have shown significant interest in artificial intelligence (AI) and have released national-level AI strategic plans. These plans reflect the country’s rationale for embarking on AI. To identify what factors influence the AI approach of a country, this study employs signaling theory to decode strategic national AI plans and understand each country’s rationale. The study adapts the typology of signals and plots AI information given in national AI plans (AI-enabled public services, research, data, algorithmic ethics, governance) in a matrix of intentionality and veracity considering socio-economic and political conditions. Our findings indicate that countries with high democracy scores are more likely than less democratic countries to prioritize ethical and governance issues of AI, however, this is more pronounced in democratic countries with a lower technology base. The results also suggest that advanced research capability and data accessibility for AI is a precondition to developing a nationwide AI system.

To access the paper, please click [LINK]

Will AI ever sit at the C-suite table? The future of senior leadership

Graeme J. Watson, Vincent M. Ribiere, JakaLindi? and I have an article accepted in Business Horizons.

As the sophistication of artificial intelligence (AI) systems develop and AI becomes a key element of organizational strategy across a wide spectrum of industries, new demands are being placed on senior leaders. To understand the growing challenges leaders will face in the age of AI, we conducted interviews with 33 senior leaders in several countries across a wide range of industries. Our research highlights key capabilities and skills that leaders will require. Underlying these capabilities is a mindset oriented toward continuous learning and self-development, which will enable ongoing and rapid adaptation to change. Our findings identified the following key capabilities: digital know-how, data-driven focus, networking, ethics, and agility. To successfully navigate the coming era, senior leaders will need to focus on reskilling the workforce, recruiting and retaining highly skilled talent, building an intrapreneurial culture, and managing unprecedented changes in technologies and the nature of work.

To access the article [LINK]