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Three paths to e-service availability: a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis among the EU member states

Justine Marienfeldt (Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 2 August 2021

Issue publication date: 27 October 2021




This study aims to explore under which institutional and organizational conditions the national e-government reform efforts of EU member states lead to very high availability of e-services.


Following e-government literature of information systems and public administration research, this study applies an analytical framework encompassing characteristics of the national politico-administrative system (state structure, government capacity, managerial innovation orientation and civil service system) to understand why a common policy framework does not lead to convergence but great variety in the degree of e-service availability. A comparative case study approach using fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) is applied to systematically compare e-service availability in the former 28 EU member states.


Three configurations of sufficient conditions are identified: government capacity in conjunction with either bureaucratic human resource practices, centralized state structure or managerial innovation orientation. Three country clusters are derived: effective bureaucrats, effective centralists and effective managers.


The results demonstrate the importance of administrative effectiveness for the digital transformation. Rather than mimicking best practices, countries are advised to learn from better performing countries that are most similar in terms of institutional and organizational characteristics of the politico-administrative system.



This research was supported by a scholarship of the German Hans-Böckler-Foundation.


Marienfeldt, J. (2021), "Three paths to e-service availability: a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis among the EU member states", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 34 No. 7, pp. 783-798.



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