When Enterprise Architecture Meets Government: An Institutional Case Study Analysis

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Kristian Hjort-Madsen and Jakob Burkard


This study investigates the systemic challenges facing enterprise architecture programs in government. Drawing upon the institutional theory lens from the political science field, a Danish case study is used to explore why public agencies implement enterprise architecture programs and the challenges they face when governing these programs at different levels (vertically) and different functions (horizontally) of government. The analysis shows that enterprise architecture is not just a technical issue, as economic and political facts are equally important when establishing interoperable e-government services. The findings suggest that implementing enterprise architectures in government challenges the way information systems are organized and governed in public agencies. Interoperability challenges in government arise because there is no overall coordination of different information systems initiatives in the public sector and because public organization have no economic and/or immediate political incentives to share data and business functionality with other organizations in their enterprise architecture programs.


enterprise architecture, institutional theory, interoperability, governance, e-government

About the authors

Kristian Hjort-Madsen is a strategic enterprise architect with Denmark’s national egovernment office in the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. Mr. Hjort-Madsen is currently completing his Ph.D. in combination with his work in a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the IT-University of Copenhagen, IBM Denmark, and KMD. His works focus on the actual implementation and management of EA processes in public agencies and he is widely used as a guest lecturer, coach and strategic advisor on EA related matters. Prior to his work in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr. Hjort-Madsen perused a bachelor degree in political science from Aarhus University and a master degree in information systems from the IT-University of Copenhagen. A more detailed bio and significant publications can be found on Mr. Hjort-Madsen’s blog at: www.EAGov.com.

Jakob Burkard has several years of experience working with EA methodologies, specifically IAF and TOGAF. He has been practicing the role of solution architect for almost a decade, specializing in information and integration. He holds a Masters of Information Science, and is working as Chief Architect and Business Unit Manager for Solution Architecture Services within Capgemini, Denmark.


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