Pilleriin Lillemets

Title: e-Estonia – A Digital Government in Digital Transformation

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Drechsler

Opponent: Dr. Veiko Lembert

Defense: 5 June 2023


Abstract: Estonia, also known as 'e-Estonia', is renowned for its highly advanced digitisation of public services. Despite being a pioneer in e-governance, the constantly evolving technological landscape and societal challenges require a continuous evaluation of Estonia's digital transformation agenda within the public sector. The aim of this study is to assess the understanding of key stakeholders and public sector experts regarding the purpose and process of digital transformation in Estonia's unique cultural, historical, and societal context. To investigate these aspects, the research utilises a qualitative approach, combining document analysis and expert interviews. Although Estonia has a well-developed digital ecosystem, the study emphasizes the need for a unified vision to guide transformation. The existing digital agenda and public sector digital transformation plan lack clear direction. The thesis argues that administrative processes and organizational structures not designed for new challenges hinder Estonia's digital leap. It raises an essential discussion about defining what is meant by 'digital transformation' and the importance of framing policy problems before selecting the right tools, instruments, and organizational modes. The research holds practical significance as it contributes to the revision of Estonia's current public sector digitalization agenda, developed by the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.


Keywords: Digital Transformation, E-Governance, Digital Governance, Estonia, e-Estonia, Public Administration, Digital Government, Organisational Change, Policy Analysis, Policy Formulation, Policy Design, Public Sector