Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Policy

First Advisor

Aroon Manoharan

Second Advisor

Michael Ahn

Third Advisor

Daniel Bromberg


With smart city and e-government (electronic government) initiatives striving for increased levels of citizen participation, public managers continue to search for a way to increase the utilization of Information Technology (IT) services. However, most efforts focus on linking operations and IT services, rather than facilitating greater means of citizen engagement in government service development (Granier & Kudo, 2016). Furthermore, few studies examine the effect of citizen engagement, particularly in relation to the New Information Communication Technology (NICT), or the smartphone mobile application. These smartphones and their associated mobile applications are quickly becoming one of the primary tools for smart cities worldwide in delivering their government services.

According to Moore’s theory of public value generation by managers, both a value chain and an authorizing chain are needed to create value associated with the authorizing environment (legitimacy and support) and resources needed (operational capabilities) to create value (performance). Therefore, this study asks, “Does the development of smartphone mobile application technology that proceeds according to Moore’s public value management theory lead to greater levels of ownership associated with these smart city services and a willingness to co-productively engage and participate with future applications?”

Specifically, it utilizes a case study of the City of Boston and a mixed-method approach that consists of a survey to 425 City of Boston-specific application users and 16 application developers in the city to examine its central research question. The qualitative interview findings show that government authorizers and application developers are primarily motivated to ensure that applications are continuously utilized when they are being developed. Further, components of awareness campaigns surrounding the application are tied to the notion of garnering usage and building a sustained user base. By ensuring this, the degree to which two-way communication proceeds between developer and user is extensively mentioned as also being of importance. The results of the logistic regression show that value generation and a user’s likelihood to engage with future applications is motivated primarily by the ease of use of the application, their prior experience with other City applications, and whether they had been a contributor to prior City of Boston applications.