The curse of the benchmark: An assessment of the validity and value of e-government comparisons

  • Bannister F
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Benchmarking of e-government and the information society is a booming busi- ness. This phenomenon raises several interesting questions. Why does this partic- ular part of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) world receive so much of this type of attention? Why are there so many benchmarks? What do they purport to measure? Who reads these and how much credence is given to them? Do they play a valuable role in advancing e-government and e-society or is their impact actually negative? This article looks at these and a number of related questions including the degree of consistency between different benchmarks, trends over time and the importance or otherwise that governments place on these reports. From this, some tentative theories about the role of benchmarking, the pressures that benchmarks place on public managers and their significance are proposed and some limitations of benchmarks are identified and discussed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Evaluation
  • ICT
  • Information society measurement
  • On-line services
  • Public administration
  • e-government

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