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Virtual Policy Networks: Where all Roads Lead to Rome

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2010

Kathleen McNutt*
University of Regina
Kathleen McNutt, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Regina, Regina, SK, Canada, S4S 0A2,


Abstract. Public sector websites are heavily invested in influencing policy outcomes through information provisioning and dissemination. Traditionally e-government research has focused on the internal functions of e-government studying service delivery, horizontal information processing integration and levels of implementation maturity. This paper shifts the analytical focus to external-facing e-government to consider the macro presentation of state-sponsored sites on the Web. To evaluate the external face of Canadian e-government this project measures the web-based impact of public sector websites in virtual policy networks. Virtual policy networks are web-based issues networks containing content on a specific policy topic and connected through hyperlinks. It is argued that government's online nodality in these networks is an indicator of public sector websites' authority and influence on the Web.

Résumé. Les sites Internet du secteur public sont fortement consacrés à influencer les résultats des politiques publiques en offrant et en disséminant de l'information. Par le passé, la recherche sur l'e-gouvernement s'est concentrée sur ses fonctions internes, en étudiant la distribution des services, l'intégration horizontale du traitement de l'information et les niveaux de maturité de la mise en œuvre. Cet article déplace la focale analytique vers les fonctions externes de l'e-gouvernement, en considérant une macroprésentation de sites étatiques sur la toile. Afin d'évaluer la dimension externe de l'e-gouvernement canadien, ce projet mesure l'impact Internet de sites du secteur public dans des réseaux virtuels de politiques publiques. Les réseaux virtuels de politiques publiques sont des réseaux Internet traitant de questions particulières; ils contiennent des renseignements sur des questions précises de politiques publiques et sont reliés entre eux par des hyperliens. L'auteure soutient que la nodalité en ligne du gouvernement dans ces réseaux est un indicateur de l'autorité des sites Internet du secteur public et de leur influence sur le reste de la toile.

Research Article
Copyright © Canadian Political Science Association 2010

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