Authors: M Jae Moon; Yongjin Lee

As the scope of national administration gradually expanded beginning in the 1960s, the Republic of Korea wrestled with administrative inefficiencies and difficulties. Sharing information among different central administrative units such as ministries and agencies was a major challenge. The administrative infrastructure of government ministries was not configured to encourage such information sharing, and bureaucratic silos proliferated. Each central government entity had its own administrative system unconnected with others. Those entities were reluctant to share information with other units. Moreover, the government lacked any internal document repository system to enable officials to monitor different versions of documents produced in the course of policy making. To address these core challenges of public administration, Korea’s first e-government system was initiated by President Kim Dae-jung in 2001, but the system struggled with knowledge management and information-sharing features. Kim’s successor, President Roh Moo-hyun started to build up e-government systems, beginning with a system for the Blue House (the executive office of the President), and culminating in an integrated administrative system for the entire government. 

The development challenge for Korea was to introduce mechanisms for the effective management of government documentation and thus make the public sector function more efficiently. This case study, as well as a delivery note that was adapted by Yongjin Lee from the original case study, examines how this challenge was addressed.