Integrating service design principles and information technology to improve delivery and productivity in public sector operations: The case of the South Carolina DMV

  • Karwan K
  • Markland R
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One relatively unanswered question regarding operational efficiency and effectiveness is whether and how public sector or government operations can employ service strategy and design concepts to deal with the conflicting objectives of minimizing expenditures while providing for an increasing number of "causes" [Haywood-Farmer, J., Nollet, J., 1991. Service Plus: Effective Service Management, G. Morin Publisher, Quebec]. In this paper, we argue that the mechanism that permits or enables simultaneous success on these dimensions in public sector operations is information technology applied in conjunction with a unified set of service operations concepts. To demonstrate this contention, we employ an adaptation of the Goldstein et al. [Goldstein, S.M., Johnston, R., Duffy, J., Rao, J., 2002. The service concept: the missing link in service design research? Journal of Operations Management 20 (2), 121-134] service planning design framework, taking issue with some interpretative aspects of their strategic model. The modified planning framework was applied to an initiative in South Carolina state government to improve operations and technology deployment at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The detailed and ongoing case study illustrates the utility of a broad service-based, IT-enabled approach to designing a government service, while simultaneously demonstrating that operational service alignment is the key to avoiding results that have long been labeled a dilemma in the public sector. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Case study
  • Information technology
  • Public sector operations
  • Service design

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  • Kirk R. Karwan

  • Robert E. Markland

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