Demystifying the Role of the Steward

AbstractThis study seeks to enhance understanding regarding the public sector stewardship of integrated services delivery initiatives in joined-up digital government, with a particular focus on understanding the nature of the steward’s role in practice. This specifically includes the skills required of those performing stewardship, and the key challenges stewards faced. Eight interviews supplemented by the use of reflective journals were completed with stewards of the New Zealand public sector to understand their practice and perception of the steward concept. Three tiers of stewardship practice were identified: (1) Internal Stewardship, (2) Inter-Agency Stewardship, and (3) Stewardship as a Governance Model. Each tier exhibited unique challenges. Participants overcame these challenges through performing two complementary sub-roles: Navigator and Storyteller. Understanding the operational challenges of the stewardship tiers and how the stewardship roles were enacted has implications for both practitioners and researchers.

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