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This article examines the adoption and use of computer technology by cities under 50,000 and counties under 100,000 in seven plains and mountain states. Smaller local governments were found to lag considerably behind their larger counterparts in computer adoption and extent of use. However, pat terns of use were not substantially different, with basic "housekeeping" functions being the most frequently automated.

Computer adoption was associated with size, government form and type, and metropolitan status. No relationship was found between financial status and computer adoption. Most governments used in-house computers, and most of these systems were minicomputers. The frequency of microcomputer adoption paralleled that reported in a recent nationwide study of micro use in city governments.

Most in-house systems represented relatively current technology. Over 70 percent of these systems had been purchased from three of the country's largest computer vendors, IBM, NCR, and Burroughs.

Current use of computers was associated with future plans to acquire automated technology and with the type of system a government planned to buy. However, current use did not affect attitudes toward the future use of computers in general or micros in particular.


This article is based on a paper that was presented at the American Society for Public Administration Region VII Annual Conference, October, 1983, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The author wishes to thank Vincent J. Webb and David R. DiMartino for their review and comments on that paper and Marian Meier for her editing of the draft.