Living up to standards: Interoperability governance and standards adoption in government information networks

Florian Henning, UNU-MERIT / School of Governance

This dissertation investigates the issue of standardisation and interoperability in ICT-enabled, inter-organisational public-sector networks (“Government Information Networks”). Specifically, it focuses on standards adoption by organisations in such networks. Its findings cover three main areas.

First, the dissertation investigates the concept and process of standards adoption in Government Information Networks. It postulates that a holistic perspective across the technological, semantic and organisational dimensions of interoperability is necessary. Moreover, it identifies the key phases of the adoption process, and provides a typology of the relevant actors involved.

Second, the dissertation develops and empirically validates a theoretical model on the determinants of the adoption of standards by organisations in Government Information Networks. Moreover, the dissertation determines the relative relevance of the identified determinants for different groups of stakeholders in these networks, thus identifying key areas for the governance of interoperability. The findings highlight the necessity for a context-sensitive approach to interoperability governance, especially with regard to the context formed by the complexity of a given network.

Third, the dissertation analyses how the centralisation of decision-making in governing interoperability affects standards adoption in relation to the complexity of a given network. Based on the development of a framework with the essential dimensions of interoperability governance centralisation and network complexity, it provides a number of propositions arguing that higher network complexity requires more centralised interoperability governance.

Venue: Aula, Minderbroedersberg 4-6, Maastricht

Date: 24 June 2015

Time: 14:00 - 15:30