Guenduez, Ali A., Tobias Mettler, & Kuno Schedler (2019, in press). Technological frames in public administration: What do public managers think of big data? Government Information Quarterly. (ePub in advance of print) (Link:

Abstract: Being among the largest creators and gatherers of data in many countries, public administrations are looking for ways to harness big data technology. However, the de facto uses of big data in the public sector remain very limited. Despite numerous studies aiming to clarify the term big data, for many public managers, it remains unclear what this technology does and does not offer public administration. Using the concept of technological frames, we explore the assumptions, expectations, and understandings that public managers possess in order to interpret and make sense of big data. We identify nine big data frames [based on Q methodology and factor analysis], ranging from inward-oriented technoenthusiasts to outward-oriented techno-skeptics, each of which characterizes public managers’ specific viewpoints relating to the introduction of big data in public administrations. Our findings highlight inconsistencies between different perceptions and reveal widespread skepticism among public managers, helping better understand why the de facto uses of big data in the public sector remain very limited.

Ali A Guenduez <> is in the Institute for Systemic Management and Public Governance, University of St.Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland.