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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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3 Methodology and Data Analysis 67


67 3 Methodology and Data Analysis This research used the case study method (Yin 2003). Social scientists have long used case study analysis as a method of examining public administration. The study aimed to gain deeper insights into the perception of CiRM and its implementation and im- pact. This chapter provides an overview of the research methodology (Section 3.1), including the three main steps taken in the study. The empirical procedure and data sources used for this study are reported in Section 3.2. Data analysis (Section 3.3) was primarily inductive, following a modified grounded theory approach (Strauss/Corbin 1998). Possible propositions from each case study were discerned, and a cross-case comparison was conducted. Special attention is given to the limitations of this research in Section 3.4. Figure 3-1 presents an overview of the research design. Further details are discussed in Chapter 0, which presents the qualitative results of the study. 3.1 Research method Simon (1947) once said that “there can never be a science of public administration from the viewpoint of practice; it can only be studied scientifically through rigorous methods of social science” (Riccucci 2001). Studies of public administration as well as Figure 3-1: Research Design Case III City of Baltimore Case II City of New York Case IV City of Chicago Case I Miami-Dade County CiRM perception, implementation / experience; impact Methodology Level of experience with and stage of CiRM implementation - + Exploratory case study based on semi-structured interviews/documents Method Theoretical Perspective Grounded theory process (coding) Single-case analysis...

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