Discursive Institutionalism for reconciling change and stability in digital innovation public sector projects for development

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A good deal of research and practice on digital innovation public sector projects takes for granted a stability-change dichotomy which positions these two phenomena as opposite and difficult to conciliate. In this area There is a shortage of studies focusing on how projects as the main vehicles for digital innovation could mediate between change and stability in the public sector. To address this gap this paper proposes Discursive Institutionalism (DI) to better understand the dynamics of this type of projects. A case study of a multi-actor project in the Albanian context extends the scope of the analysis to the transitional institutional environment in which the project unfolded. Findings suggest that large-scale multi-actor digital innovation public sector projects can not only be seen as temporary endeavors but also as strategic points of interaction for multifaceted stakeholders whose ideas and discourses could converge at levels of policies, programs and philosophies in order to keep required stability in the face of change. Using DI, a number of propositions are formulated and empirically validated to draw insights and implications for future project policy formulation, research and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalGovernment Information Quarterly
Issue number1
Early online date11 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • institutional theory
  • Discursive Institutionalism
  • Electronic government
  • Digital innovation
  • public sector
  • stability
  • change
  • Albania

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