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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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6 Conclusion 145


145 6 Conclusion The purpose of this research was to explore CRM in government. The research was developed around five key questions. How is CRM understood and implemented in government? What has been the impact of CRM initiatives? What is the contribution of CRM to currently active reform movements that aim at improving citizen- orientation? The answers to these questions were intended to support two additional objectives of this study: first, answering the fundamental question of whether there is a difference between private and public CRM, and second, conceptualizing Citizen Re- lationship Management, (what I refer to as CiRM) to clearly delineate CRM’s applica- tion in government. In order to find an answer to these questions, I began this study with an assessment of CRM in the business world. A literature review showed that CRM was influenced by different streams in management research—in particular, marketing science—and by developments in technology. At the core of CRM lies the goal of increasing cus- tomer revenue over the lifetime of the customer relationship to ensure the competitive advantage of a firm. While CRM definitions vary, most authors refer to the same set of components—customer analysis, segmenting customers, synchronizing customer in- teraction throughout channels and a customer-oriented culture. CRM is typically facili- tated through ICT, but only as an enabling factor. Accordingly, CRM is now under- stood as a holistic management concept used in creating a customer-centric organisa- tion. A myriad of companies struggled with their CRM projects and realized that...

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