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Citizen Relationship Management

A Study of CRM in Government


Alexander Schellong

This study explores Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in government. Based on an interdisciplinary literature review and multiple-case study design, a model of Citizen Relationship Management (CiRM) is developed and discussed. The case studies explore the perceptions of CRM/CiRM by administrators, elected officials and consultants as well as its implementation and impact on the municipal level and in a multijurisdictional environment in the United States. Although the explorative part of the study focuses broadly on a theoretical conceptualization of CiRM, the immediate empirical referent of research are the 311 initiatives in the City of Baltimore, the City of Chicago, the City of New York and Miami-Dade County. Thus, the results help administrators and researchers to convey the idea and challenges of 311 well. The study shows that CRM is to a certain extent only partly able to make novel contributions to currently active reform movements in government. In addition, the study’s findings support the idea that CiRM provides the means to a different kind of public participation.


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ed walls of Harvard and at The University of Tokyo in one of the world’s most vivid mega cities. It is impossible to adequately thank those who made their contribu- tion to this dissertation in one way or another. First and foremost, I would like to extend my deep thanks and appreciation to Pro- fessor Dieter Mans, my advisor, for having faith and confidence in me. His openness to and support of many of my ideas have been a critical success factor of this disserta- tion. He listened and questioned where necessary but allowed me to find my own way. In addition, I would like to thank Professor Josef Esser, my second advisor and the members of my defense committee, Professor Klaus Allerbeck, Professor Tanja Brühl and Professor Andreas Nölke. I am especially grateful to Professor Jane Fountain and Professor David Lazer, who invited me to the National Center for Digital Government, and its successor, the Pro- gram on Networked Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. They profoundly influenced my development as a researcher and the structure of this study. I could not have realized the dissertation in its present state without their support and the available resources of an institution such as Harvard. Moreover, David introduced me to the interesting fields of social networks and complexity. At the end of the day, everything turns out to be connected. I owe a special debt of gratitude to those who participated in my interviews. Nobody who was approached...

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