Purpose – This study aims to explore recent public sector trends, inter-organizational and cross-sector
collaborations, and analyzes these in terms of implications for participative development of information
systems (IS). These trends are understood as being part of emerging forms of e-government. Initial
suggestions for how to develop IS in the new contexts are provided.
Design/methodology/approach – Three cases involving the trends described above, taking place in
the Swedish emergency response system, are studied and used as basis for identified participative IS
development challenges and suggested adaptation needs. Data collection involves semi-structured
interviews, focus groups and future workshops.
Findings – The identified challenges concern balancing ideological versus practical needs, lack of
resources, lack of know-how and design techniques and tool challenges. Some practical implications for
participative IS development include more extensive focus on stakeholder and legal analysis, need for
interdisciplinary design teams, merging of task and needs analysis for yet-undefined user tasks and
using on-line alternatives for interacting with users.
Research implications/limitations – The study is exploratory where the three cases are in
different, but at the same time interrelated, collaboration contexts. The identified implications and
challenges provide proposals that in future research can be applied, formalized and integrated when
developing practically feasible participative IS development approaches.
Originality/value – It is argued that the results point toward a current emerging form of
e-government initiatives directed toward certain demarcated groups of citizens actually carrying out
certain tasks for their co-citizens and society rather than the broad masses, having far-reaching
practical implications and complicating the issue of IS development.