A primary goal of e-governance is providing online-services to citizens over the internet (Web portals) to facilitate government-to-citizen (G2C) and citizen-to-government (C2G) interactions and transactions. This chapter provides a perspective on the users’ perceptions of the attributes which determine e-governance online-service quality. The research based approach is used to first develop the discussion on the needs of quality “e-governance online services” (EGOS) and then a research study is used to demonstrate development of measurement instrumentation to measure online service quality from the users’ perspective. The presented method and the instrument can be adopted in any country/state with minor contextual modifications. The limitations and future directions for scholars and researchers to facilitate the knowledge in measuring and thus, improving in e-governance online service quality is also presented at the end of the chapter.
Need To Measure E-Governance Online Service Quality
E-governance should not be seen as a vehicle to deliver information over the internet, but should facilitate citizens to participate in decision making process, reflecting their wants and welfare. “UNESCO and COMNET-IT define governance as the process by which society steers itself.”2 Citizens’ awareness level, acceptance level and hopes and fears about the e-governance can be the important factors determining the success of e-governance initiatives (Agrawal and Fuloria, 2003). A high quality of online-service delivery by government will ensure high acceptance level and fewer fears. But, at present, most of the existing studies on e-governance service quality focus on the governments’ (service provider) perspective. Such studies are limited to discussions on the need to develop, and to conform the quality standards (Tawil and Sait, 2002), with focus on engineering or system dimensions, or, organizing and streamlining administrative and organizational processes. Though, most of the government institutions in developing nations and government agencies till now have been ill-prepared for the dramatic changes in information technology and human knowledge, yet citizens increasingly expect the same level of service from governments as they do from the private sector. Most of the citizens and institutions perceive all government functions inward looking and self-oriented. This is analogous to the product concept in Marketing where firms try to improve their products without involving customers and without knowing customers’ preferences. The results of such approach are drastically negative as customer does not adopt such products/services rapidly.
Globally, workshops and the conferences for developing quality standards for e-governance have realized the need for a separate approach for developing ‘beneficiary oriented,’ standards, but still, Action Plans generally emphasize IT enabled services management standards, technical standards and mere complaint management standards (E-Governance Standards Workshop, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, September 20-21, 2006).