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The Barcelona model of e-administration: adoption and institutionalisation

José Ramón Rodríguez (


In June 2004, as part of the Project Internet Catalunya (PIC) of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya and the autonomous government, lecturers Manuel Castells and Esteve Ollé published a study into the implementation of e-administration in the city of Barcelona. From the study's conclusions, the emergence was deduced of the city's own administration model, focused on the institutional and conscious use of the Internet "to increase the efficiency of the Local Administration (...), the improvement of public services and the reformulation of the city's governance processes".

The study by these writers is part of the sociological approach of the theories of Manuel Castells on the 'information age' and the 'network society', it uses a variety of analytical instruments for the analysis of the organisations and of the provision of services in the network and it is based on statistical information from the City Council, a broad number of interviews with municipal managers and the writers' own observations.

This article puts forward a similar methodological approach for analysing supply and a different approach for analysing demand, based on Rogers' theory of the dissemination of innovations, in particular the dissemination of ICTs in organisations, as has been presented by a number of writers.

In the article, we examine the evolution of the phenomenon in the period between the second six months of 2003 and the first six months of 2006. We conclude that in the period studied, Barcelona has entered a new development cycle of its e-administration model, characterised by two main traits: on the one hand, the majority social adoption of both the information and the transaction services, which is already leading to the replacement of the traditional channels of relations by the Internet, and on the other hand, the integration and institutionalisation of e-administration within the Municipal Administration and in relation to other Administrations, through organisational, technical and legal changes and a new offer of services that correspond to the most advanced stages in the development of e-government.


Barcelona model, e-administration, governance, network society

Published in:  October 2006

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