Electronic media and administrative work - democratisation and rationalisation

  • Project team:

    Bechmann, Gotthard (Project leader); Gerhard Banse; Silke Beck; Michael Rader


  • Funding:

    Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung

  • Start date:


  • End date:


  • Project partners:

    Akademie für Technikfolgenabschätzung in Baden-Württemberg

  • Research group:

    Innovation processes and impacts of technology

Project description

The focus of the project is on the application of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) to modernise public administration. The discussions on "e-democracy" and "e-government" which have up to now taken place relatively independently of each other are, for the purpose of analysing the re-organisation of administration, bundled together into the vision of "e-governance", and two perspectives are combined:

  • On the one hand, the public sector is being confronted with demands for rationalisation and "slimming", for instance as these are being discussed in the context of "new public management".
  • On the other hand, there are high hopes concerning the potential of the Internet for democratisation. At the centre of these discussions are the new opportunities for participation in politics.

The project is concerned with the question whether, and in which way, these demands lead to a new guiding vision for administration, in which the bureaucratic, hierarchical, formalised and citizen-remote forms of organisation are being replaced by networked, decentralised, flexible, transparent forms which are close to the citizen. From this viewpoint, there are three main areas of analysis:

  • The re-organisation of the political process to develop new forms of the involvement of citizens in processes of political decision-making.
  • The rationalisation of the manner of work and the restructuring of administration in the direction of a modern, networked, decentralised, flexible and efficient organisation.
  • The redesign of the relationship of the administration to citizens with the aim of involving these more in the administrative process.

The subject of investigation is the use of the Internet as an instrument for rationalisation and democratisation of the administration and the changes in forms of interaction between the administration and citizens, which are increasingly emerging on the basis of electronically mediated communication.

The project makes use of the following instruments for research: Literature review, case studies, expert interviews and user survey. From a comparative perspective, ""good practice" for the modernisation of administration is identified and the conditions and opportunities for their transfer are indicated.


Bechmann, G.
The cultural function of the internet - pluralism and rationality of culture in a globalized world
2004. Vortr.: Chinesische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Beijing, China, 8.Juli 2004 
Book Chapters
Bechmann, A.; Bechmann, G.
Verwaltungsmodernisierung im Übergang zur Wissensgesellschaft. Von der politischen Planung der 70er-Jahre zum e-government der 2. Generation
2003. Bechmann, A. [Hrsg.] Verwaltungsmodernisierung durch Wissensmanagement : Notwendigkeiten, Chancen, Konzepte, Instrumente Barsinghausen : Verl. Edition Zukunft, 2003, 39–220 
Bechmann, G.; Bechmann, M.; Beck, S.; Werner, M.
Elektronische Medien und Verwaltungshandeln - Rationalisierung und Demokratisierung. - Endbericht
2003. Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) 
Journal Articles
Bechmann, M.; Werner, M.
Digitales Rathaus zwischen Angebot und Bürgernutzung
2002. Technikfolgenabschätzung, Theorie und Praxis, 11 (3-4), 70–83 
Book Chapters
Bechmann, G.; Banse, G.; Beck, S.; Rader, M.
Elektronische Medien und Verwaltungshandeln. Demokratisierung und Rationalisierung
2001. 1999/2000 Jahrbuch des Instituts für Technikfolgenabschätzung und Systemanalyse (ITAS). Hrsg.: A. Grunwald, 179–180, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (FZKA) 
Bechmann, G.
The cultural function of the internet - pluralism and rationality of culture in a globalized world
2001. Innovations for an e-Society : Challenges for Technology Assessment, Berlin, October 18-19, 2001 
Bechmann, G.; Beck, S.
E-Governance: Verwaltungsmodernisierung zwischen Demokratisierung und Rationalisierung - zur Verwendungsweise des Internets
2001. Forschungskolloquium Staatsmodernisierung und E-Government, Verwaltungshochschule Speyer, 5.Juli 2001 


Prof. Dr. Gotthard Bechmann
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe