E-government has grown in significance with the growth of the digital age and the global economy; however, at a slower pace. Its impact is pervasive and is evident in the availability and distribution of products and services within agencies, to business, and to citizens in western countries. There are many aspects of e-government; researchers have written extensively on the subject and have reached conclusions that will continue to evolve as new discoveries are made. The business community, and society at-large, have been challenged by the complexities of e-government in meeting the needs in developing countries as well. The relationship between developed and underdeveloped countries is interdependent due to natural resources that may be available in underdeveloped countries and products that may be modi- fied in their packaging and price for sale to the people in underdeveloped countries (e.g., toothpaste packaged in small, disposable packets, or shampoo in small vials, or second/third generation mobile phones to keep it affordable for the people in the underdeveloped countries). The polarization between e-government and society is due to conflicting financial, geopolitical/ethical and societal goals (Webber, 2006); this issue is evident in the adoption rates and usage of government Web sites. Although progress has been made in identifying e-government opportunities, the juxtaposition of government infrastructure, technology, and societal needs often conflict and, as a result, have adversely impacted the products and services offered by e-governments throughout the western world and ultimately, the adoption rates.
An examination of e-government adoption must begin with an examination of Web site usage and an identification or profile of the typical Internet user. Figure 1 compares the profiles of the typical Australian, Canadian, and US online citizens. For those who do go online, many do not take advantage of general portal information.
Comparison of Australian, US, and Canadian Online Citizen Profiles (Webber, 2006, p. 3)
Key Terms in this Chapter
Government to Government (G2G) E-Commerce: Either (1) the electronic commerce activities performed within a single nation’s government or (2) the electronic commerce activities performed between two or more nations’ governments including providing foreign aid.
Internet: A vast network of computers that connects millions of people all over the world.
Government to Consumer (G2C) E-Commerce: The electronic commerce activities performed between the government and its citizens or consumers, including paying taxes, registering vehicles, and providing information and services.
Horizontal Government Integration: The electronic integration of agencies, activities, and processes across a special level of government.
Electronic Government (e-Government): The use of digital technologies to transform government operations in order to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and service delivery.
Government to Business (G2B) E-Commerce: When a government entity sells products and services to businesses.
Identity theft: The forging of someone’s identity for the purpose of fraud.
World Wide Web (Web): A multimedia-based collection of information, services, and Web sites supported by the Internet.