Digital government and wicked problems: Solution or problem?

Jing Zhang, Yushim Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The theme of the 16th International Conference on Digital Government Research (dg.o 2015) - ''Digital Government and Wicked Problems'' - drew attention to the increasingly complex global problems we are facing today. In the late 1960s, the term ''wicked problems'' was coined to refer to societal and public planning problems that had no definitive solutions [1,2]. Many problems, such as those identified in the theme of the conference - climate change, urbanization, and inequality - often exhibit the characteristics of ''wickedness'' in the sense that they are both difficult to define and solve. The selection of this theme for dg.o 2015 reflects the digital government research community's ambition and dedication to achieve a degree of understanding necessary to address some of the most intractable of these problems with the aid of emerging technologies. This special issue includes seven of the best papers from the dg.o 2015 conference. In this editorial, we highlight the characteristics of ''wicked problems'' briefly, and the way in which the term is relevant in digital government research. We then introduce the articles selected for this special issue. Lastly, we provide suggestions to foster future research that addresses the nature of ''wickedness'' in digital government initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalInformation Polity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016


  • Wicked problems
  • crisis management
  • digital divide
  • digital government
  • open data
  • public health
  • smart grid
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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