A Review of Case Studies of Technological Innovations in State and Local Services

by Robert K. Yin, Karen A. Heald, Mary E. Vogel, Patricia D. Fleischauer, B. C. Vladeck

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To assess previous experiences with technological innovations in state and local governments and to identify those factors that have resulted in the successful use of these innovations, the evidence from 140 case studies of a local public organization's first experience with a new technological device was aggregated using the case survey method. Some common attributes of the innovative device and the setting and immediate circumstances of the innovative effort were found to be correlated with successful efforts to innovate. Furthermore, there was evidence supporting the notion of two organizational processes, one involving production efficiency and leading to service improvement and the other involving bureaucratic self-interest and leading to incorporation. No federal factors examined were associated with successful innovative efforts. The main implication of the findings is that further research using standardized case studies should develop more insight into the common features shared by local service organizations.

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