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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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5 Citizen Relationship Management 119


119 5 Citizen Relationship Management This chapter presents a discussion of the findings and contributions of the study. It begins with the search for the novel contributions of CRM to currently active reform movements. Subsequently I summarise and discuss the results of the cross-case analy- sis on the implementation, impact and understanding of CiRM before answering the question of whether there is a difference between private- and public-sector CRM. Consequently, I present a general model of CiRM. 5.1 Old wine in new bottles? Comparing CRM with TQM and eGovernment Does CRM simply redefine and consolidate principles and techniques that have been studied and applied by public managers and scholars since the 1980s? CRM and TQM are both understood as holistic management concepts and philoso- phies developed in the private sector as an answer to the forces such as globalization and new technologies that affect competition, consumer behaviour and other factors. Essentially, they rest on the idea that a high level of customer satisfaction and quality business information, knowledge and communication result in a competitive advan- tage in the market. Being market-driven means anticipating and responding to cus- tomer needs and pre-empting competitors to produce an increase in market share and/or reduce the elasticity of demand (Reed/Lemak/Montgomery 1996). Therefore, CRM and TQM do not include any particular reference to the distinctive environment found in government. Government enactment of management concepts and technology are mediated by a number of factors, including budget scarcity, institutional arrangements, cultural norms, existing laws and regulations, policy...

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