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Enrolling citizens as informed consumers in quasi-markets

Journal article
Authors Agneta Ranerup
Helle Zinner Henriksen
Published in Information Technology and People
Volume 32
Issue 6
Pages 1517-1535
ISSN 0959-3845
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Pages 1517-1535
Language en
Keywords Decision making; E-government; Adoption; Case study; consumer behaviors; Actor-network theory; Web services
Subject categories Information Systems, Social aspects, Public Administration Studies, Human Aspects of ICT


Purpose Many countries today, especially in Europe, provide publicly funded public services in quasi-markets. As these markets commercialize, agencies of various types are providing technologies that support citizens’ choice of services. Citizens’ use of technologies for service provision is studied as e-government under labels of channel management, e-service uptake or adoption. In contrast, by using actor–network theory (ANT), the purpose of this paper is to focus on the marketing devices that are used to enroll citizens to choose technologies in a context with large penetration of quasi-market arrangements. Design/methodology/approach Based on a Swedish case study, this paper uses qualitative data from 11 occurrences of technologies to support citizens’ choice (“market devices”) in education, healthcare and public pension in an analysis of the means taken (“marketing devices”) to increase their use. The study formulates a tentative typology of these devices. Findings The marketing devices are intended to attract citizens’ attention to the possibility of choice (e.g. catalogs, postcards and commercials), invite interaction (e.g. various social media platforms), improve the technological support in line with user needs (e.g. user participation in development), increase visibility of technological support (e.g. search optimization) or directly connect citizens to technological support (e.g. via links). Originality/value The paper contributes to e-government research through a typology of means taken to increase citizens’ technology use based on selected concepts from ANT, and to a discussion of technologies and humans.

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