Full Automation in Public Sector Governance


Ethically, all public leaders have to strive to ensure proper public sector governance. Although the public often holds their leaders responsible for the implications of their governance, it is not a task that can be completed by one person. Due to this, it is common to find Boards that implement agreed principles of governance (instead of one person). The importance of this practice cannot be overstated. This is due to the fact that it allows proper management of public resources, which affect all aspects of life within a society or state. The mistakes that are currently recorded in public sector governance are associated with human error. This can be corrected through the use of computers to guide the said processes. Full automation of the public sector governance processes is ideally the most effective way to manage public resources.

Public sector governance is a critical aspect of leadership for both the state and the federal government. It can be argued that governance is critical due to the fact that the public sector plays an important role in the larger society. The proper use of resources is key in ensuring the sustainability of a society. Due to the fact that public funds are also managed by public offices, auditing and similar measures, are used to ensure the said monies are used appropriately. It is arguable that some of the poorest countries in the world suffer due to poor public sector governance. Critically, the management of the public sector is not the work of one person, but rather, a group of people who have been selected to do the stated job. Issues such as service delivery are also key in the sector as they allow public officers to interact with people better.

Despite the importance of public sector governance, there are few leaders who have invested in the same. This has led to a flawed system of checks and balances within the sector. Critically, there are exceptional cases where public offices have fully automated their governance processes. This has led to better and more efficient monitoring of all aspects of public services within those offices. The suggested study will look into the benefits of full automation of all parts of public sector governance. The study will seek to prove that full automation offers better and more efficient ways of managing public resources. It is interesting to note that many of the mistakes associated with the current manner of governance in the public sector are attributed to human error. It is arguable that these can be resolved through full automation of the system.

Study Background

Governance in the public sector is a complicated process due to the nature and interests of the society. Seyam, et al. (2016) explain that one of the critical aspects of public sector governance is a combination of systems and processes that have to be implemented, often by a Board as opposed to an individual. It is important to note that this concept is often tied to public auditing. Rainero and Brescia (2018) note that whereas a majority of people believe that auditing is only a financial discipline, it can be used to raise accountability and transparency in all sectors of public sector. Critically, there are five key principles that have to be considered when discussing public sector governance. According to Carter (2019), the five are accountability reporting, ethics, correction course, setting direction, and overseeing results. These five principles will be the key focus of the study.

Arguably, the accountability measures are put in place to ensure that public institutions and offices adhere to both performance and financial guidelines. According to Bouckaert (2017), this aspect carries the auditing concern (both financial and otherwise). The second element, ethics, relates to the institutionā€™s code of ethics. Roseā€Ackerman (2017) notes that the behavior of a state representative or public servant has to be in accordance with this code. Critically, any auditing measures should also check on the availability and ease of access of the public officeā€™s code of ethics. The issue of course correction focuses on the systems put in place to allow for public governance (Ricardo and Belloā€Gomez, 2020). These systems often find problems and faults in the processes and raise an alarm to the right department/person for correction of the issue.

Critically, the public sector governance process should also include direction setting. According to Linos and Riesch (2019), these are guidelines that ties the institution to the state or federal goals and strategic plans. Direction setting is not an automated process and involves people coming together and developing the strategies as opposed to inputting in a computer program. Zarychta, Grillos and Andersson (2019) further note that the last principle of public governance is overseeing results, which relates to how institutions are performing vis a vie their mandates. Good governance will acknowledge the importance of these five principles are they all tend to ensure the sustainability and achievement of the public organizationā€™s goals and mandate (Young, 2020). As mentioned, the study looks into the full automation of the public sector governance as a better alternative for purposes of accountability and transparency. These five principles will be used to test the viability of the suggestion on automation of the process.

Research Objectives

There are three main research objectives that will guide the study. The three are:

  1. To understand whether full automation of public service governance is better than partial automation approach.
  2. To determine whether there is a link between process problems/loopholes and proper public sector governance.
  3. To critically examine the factors that are used to ensure proper public sector governance.

The first objective seeks to determine whether full automation is better than the current, what is referred to as traditional, approach. It is important to note three main things about the suggested objective. The first is that the term ā€œfullā€ suggests that there are processes that are currently automated. Boardman, Carsten and Graeme (2015) argue that a significant percentage of public institutions have some form of automation to their systems, especially in regards to performance. One of the most common form of automation, that is also used for governance, is the Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP). Boyer (2016) notes that there has been a significant positive impact of ERP systems in public institutions.

Secondly, the traditional approach, which refers to the processes as they are at the moment, is perceived to be faulty. The other two objectives highlight some of the limitations of the current processes. For example, as Geddes and Eoin (2017) note, the traditional approach has loop holes that individuals can take advantage of to gain traction. This is a critical concern for public institutions as they have the responsibility of insuring elements such as public funds are utilized properly. It is arguable that without the right approach to public sector governance, issues such as corruption, bribery and even intimidation will be rampant.

Contribution to Knowledge (Academic Contribution)

The selected study has significant academic contribution. Indeed, there are similar studies that have been done across the world. However, there is little information on the partial versus full automation of public sector governance processes. It can be argued that a majority of similar studies have focused on one of the two aspects in relation to the traditional approach. Therefore, there are numerous research studies that have compared partial automation of the public sector governance process to the traditional approach. Further, there are also a significant number of research papers written comparing full automation to traditional systems (no automation at all). Girth (2017) notes that whereas there are some public institutions that have partial automation, a significant number still use manual systems. This means that such institutions rely heavily on paperwork. These can be damaged easily, can be misplaced and can even be edited to document something different, making the whole process easily flawed.

Statement of Significance (Practical Contribution)

Currently, there are numerous public sector governance processes that are flawed. This has led to the loss of structure and an increase in fraudulent events (Levitt and Kent, 2016). One of the significance of the study (practical contribution) is the proving that full automation can remove the current loopholes in the process. A proof of the same will encourage more state and federal governments to consider full automation of their public sector governance processes. Additionally, the suggested approach would also detect any wrong doings by the administrators. Sanderson and Graham (2017) argue whereas computers do not make mistakes often, the people who manage them can be flawed. When this happens, the systems can detect and ask for correction before the process continues. This is a critical part of the suggested platform as it is currently the biggest flaw of the traditional governance.

A second practical contribution of the study is the debate that will arise with the findings that will be realized. Even though the main objective revolves around full automation, it is expected that the study will also collect valuable information either supporting or disagreeing with the importance of full automation in public sector governance. Critically, it is also expected that the research will provide alternatives that can be used. Indeed, one can argue that the full automation of services that have been using the manual approach for decades can be challenging. These challenges will be used as lessons learnt for future processes.

Approach and Methodology

The study will use a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research methodology. This will ensure that all possible data is collected in the best way possible. It is critical to note that the two approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages. Combining the two methodologies allows the researcher to incorporate the advantages of both into the study. For instance, quantitative analysis allows the researcher to use numbers and complex numerical data in the study. Additionally, quantitative research also allows for a broader sample population to be used. On the other hand, qualitative research methodology offers explanations that numerical data cannot. For instance, the methodology can better capture changing attitudes. This makes the approach more flexible compared to quantitative research methodology.

The researcher will employ the use of both primary and secondary data in the study. Secondary data will be attained from previous similar studies done on the same topic. These studies will be academic and peer reviewed to ensure quality of content and viability and reliability of the research. Primary data will be collected through a formal questionnaire. This research tool will be developed prior to the study and approved accordingly to ensure it captures the needed data. It is important to note that the viability and reliability of the research tool will also be considered. Critically, the study will draw its sample size from public sector across the state. These will include employees of different cadres to ensure data is also captured based on the job description of the participant. No personal data will be recorded for purposes of protecting the interviewees.

Limitations of the Study

One limitation of the study is that there is little information on the impact of full automation of the processes related to public sector governance. There are segmented studies that have focused on one element of automation or the other. However, few researchers have fully considered the impact of full automation in governance. Further, the study is limited by the ethical considerations that have to be acknowledged. One is the fact that the sample population might be afraid to be truthful due to the nature of their job. To avert this, the researcher will not collect any personal information that may be used to identify the interviewees. Additionally, the researcher will explain that the study is purely for academic purposes and will not be used anywhere else. The need for a proper explanation to the sample population will also help develop trust in order to attract the right sample size.

Reference List

Bouckaert, G. (2017) ā€˜Taking stock of ā€œgovernanceā€: a predominantly European perspectiveā€™, Governance, 30(1), pp. 45-52.

Boardman, A. E. Carsten G. and Graeme A. H. (2015) ā€˜Comparative analyses of infrastructure public-private partnershipsā€™, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice 17(5), pp. 441-447.

Boyer, E. J. (2016) ā€˜Identifying a knowledge management approach for public-private partnershipsā€™, Public Performance & Management Review, 40(1), pp. 158-180.

Carter, E. (2019) ā€˜More than marketised? Exploring the governance and accountability mechanisms at play in Social Impact Bondsā€™, Journal of Economic Policy Reform, pp. 12-14.

Geddes, R. R. and Eoin R. (2017) ā€˜The favourability of us PPP enabling legislation and private investment in transportation infrastructureā€™, Utilities Policy, 48, pp. 157-165.

Girth, A. M. (2017) ā€˜Incentives in third-party governance: management practices and accountability implicationsā€™, Public Administration Review, 77(3), pp. 433-444.

Linos, E. and Riesch, N. (2019) ā€˜Thick red tape and the thin blue line: a field study on reducing administrative burden in police recruitmentā€™, Public Administration Review, 80(1), pp. 92-103.

Levitt, R. E. and Kent, E. (2016) ā€˜Developing a governance model for PPP infrastructure service delivery based on lessons from Eastern Australiaā€™, Journal of Organization Design 5(1), pp. 7.

Rainero, C. and Brescia, V. (2018) ā€˜The participatory budgeting towards a new governance and accountabilityā€™, Institutional Research Information System, 7, pp. 54-67.

Ricardo A. and Belloā€Gomez, R. (2020) ā€˜Interacting capacities: the indirect national contribution to subnational service provisionā€™, Public Administration Review, 10, pp. 10-14.

Roseā€Ackerman, S. (2017) ā€˜What does ā€œgovernanceā€ mean?ā€™, Governance, 30(1), pp. 23-27.

Sanderson, J. and Graham W. (2017) ā€˜Public policy and projects: making connections and starting conversationsā€™, International Journal of Project Management, 35(3), pp. 221-223.

Seyam, et al. (2016) ā€˜The timeliness of State and Local Governments by GASB: An evaluation of efficacy of financial reportsā€™, Journal of Accounting and Marketing, 5(3), pp. 1-5.

Young, M. M. (2020) Implementation of digitalā€era governance: the case of open data in U.S. cities. Public Administration Review, 80(2), pp. 305-315.

Zarychta, A. Grillos, T. and Andersson, P. K. (2019) ā€˜Public sector governance reform and the motivation of streetā€level bureaucrats in developing countriesā€™, Public Administration Review, 80(1), pp. 75-91.

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