The digital governance puzzle: Towards integrative theory of humans, machines, and organizations in public management

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In recent decades, the world has been undergoing extensive digital transformations, often described as the fourth transformative industrial revolution in human history. This revolution, replete with technological innovations and information society platforms, has dramatically altered many aspects of modern life. Governments and public administrations also play a major role in this revolution. They confront the challenges of regulations, various biases and barriers related to digital transformation, interactions with citizens in a highly technological environment, and the changing civic and political culture. This paper seeks to address major missing links in the digital governance puzzle. We suggest conceptual, epistemological, and empirical additions to current literature in this territory highlighting the need to integrate knowledge from various perspectives. Using a threefold interaction framework of human-machine-organization we develop a model to analyze the complex mechanism in which digitization processes in the public sector influence the behavior, performance, and values of public organizations. The model highlights the potential mediating role of perceptions of the Digital Governance Footprint (DGF) and people Mental and Emotional Models (MEMOs). Finally, we explain how multi/mixed-method analysis can support our model, using process-tracing strategy, comparative case studies, surveys, survey-experiments, and lab experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102530
JournalTechnology in Society
StatePublished - Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd


  • Digital public Management and government
  • Human-machine-organization interactions
  • Mental and emotional models (MEMOs)
  • Organizational outcomes and performance
  • Stakeholders perceptions of digital governance footprint (DGF)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Business and International Management
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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