This chapter explores preconditions for the successful development of e-government in Vietnam, particularly the readiness of the population to access and use ICTs. It reports the results of in-depth interviews in 2006 with 38 citizens in various regions of the country, which focused on patterns of non-use and use of ICTs and particularly the Internet. The chapter explores obstacles to effective use of Internet based services amongst both ICT nonusers and users, and implications are drawn for the development and uptake of e-government services. In the light of the interview data and relevant literature, suggestions are offered as to how the Government of Vietnam might better use ICTs to improve communication between citizens and government, with a view to building a more informed and empowered society.
The Concept Of E-Government And Factors Contributing To Its Success
The term “electronic government” or “e-government” appeared about a decade ago and there is no commonly accepted definition (Bhatnagar, 2004). Oliver and Sanders saw e-government as “the migration of government information and services to an on-line delivery mode” (Oliver & Sanders, 2004, p. viii). As with the concept of “e-commerce”, the scope of e-government covers the interaction between government and citizens (G2C), government and business enterprises (G2B), and inter-agency dealing (G2G).
In this chapter the authors apply the broad definition of e-government provided by Marche and McNiven:
the provision of routine government information and transactions using electronic means, most notably those using Internet technology, whether delivery at home, at work, or through public kiosks (Marche & McNiven, 2003).
It is an underlying assumption in this chapter that Internet technologies and specifically e-government should have as their main purpose the improvement of the ways in which government serves its citizens and the ways in which citizens interact with public institutions.
Martin and Byrne stated their philosophy of e-government in even stronger terms: