Contingencies and convergence in European social security: ICT coordination in the back office of the welfare state

Guido Van Os*, Vincent Homburg, Victor Bekkers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

33 Citations (Scopus)


In Western European welfare states, one of the uses of ICT is the delivery of integrated public services in social security. In order to do this, the deployment of ICT (especially in the back office) requires coordination among various central and local levels of government, and among social insurance executive institutions, welfare authorities, and job centers. Viewing ICT-enabled integration as a technological and managerial "practice," the authors analyze ICT coordination in various institutional regimes (in a decentralized regime like Denmark, a decentralized unity state like The Netherlands, and in a federal state like Austria). By a comparative case study, the authors investigate whether ICT coordination adapts to the institutional context in which it is shaped (contingency-approach), or whether in various institutional contexts coordination practices more or less resemble each other (convergence-approach). Two methods are used to gather data. First, for each country policy, documents and strategy papers are analyzed by using a structured code list. Second, in each country five key respondents at ministerial level and five respondents at local/regional level are interviewed. The authors reflect on the findings by discussing the role of ICTs in providing coordinated and integrated services in various welfare state regimes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on ICTs and Management Systems for Improving Efficiency in Healthcare and Social Care
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781466639911
ISBN (Print)1466639903, 9781466639904
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2013

Bibliographical note

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© 2013 by IGI Global. All rights reserved.


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