A Structured Analysis of mGovernment Apps and User Engagement

A Structured Analysis of mGovernment Apps and User Engagement

Rhoda C. Joseph (Penn State Harrisburg, Middletown, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/IJESMA.2019010102

Abstract

This article examines mobile apps as a service provided through mobile government (mGovernment). Mobile apps were more typically associated with non-government businesses but are now growing in the public sector. The primary research question motivating this study is how are governments facilitating user engagement via their mobile devices through mGovernment? This study uses a citizen-consumer perspective with a theoretical framework based on the mobile user engagement model (MoEN) (Kim, Kim, & Wachter, 2013) to examine mGovernment apps. The results indicate that there are opportunities in the public sector to achieve a higher level of interaction and engagement between governments and their mobile constituents.
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1. Introduction

As consumers utilize mobile products and services for commercial activities, there can be an expectation that similar opportunities exist in the public sector. This study looks at the citizen as a consumer of government products and services in a mobile environment. There is a challenge if a citizen’s engagement and interaction with government fails to capture opportunities to engage the citizen with mobile applications.

Initial technology adoption is usually the first indication that an individual intends to use a product. Once the initial acquisition of the product occurs, the user must then continue to engage with the product for there to be any perceived value. In the specific case of mobile devices, a recent empirical study illustrated that user engagement goes beyond adoption, and is strongly and positively related to user perceived value, user satisfaction and the user’s intention to continue to engage with the mobile device (Y. Kim et al., 2013). A high level of user engagement can lead to a perpetual state of user interaction with mobile devices. Users interact with their devices in many different settings for a variety of different reasons. For example, an individual can download a free app from their favorite retailer and make purchases. Similarly, a fitness enthusiast may download a specialized free or fee-based app to track their progress during their exercise routines. The environment that is of particular relevance to this study is the user’s interaction with government via mobile devices also called mobile government or mGovernment.

As individuals make mobility an important part of their daily lives, governments have also begun to recognize that shift and attempt to respond to it. The consumer of information technology (IT) products, specifically mobile products can act as a change agent in both the business and government arenas. The change influence that the consumer and his/her IT devices bring to the work environment is the heart of the phenomenon referred to as the “consumerization of IT”. The conventional view of the consumerization of IT, is that individual consumers, most of whom are also employed in private and public-sector organizations were disrupting the work environment by bringing their own personal devices to work with them (Boomer, 2013). The consumerization of IT is now part of the public-sector conversation, where individual consumers, who are also defined as citizens in the public domain are disrupting government services, with expectations that they can use personal mobile devices for interaction with government agencies.

A disruptive IT causes a significant shift in the user’s behavior. From a workplace perspective, individuals bringing their devices to work causes a shift in some IT departments, where the IT staff no longer dictates how and what technology is used. This consumerization of IT is innovative and or disruptive depending on the lens through which the viewer is looking. However, more importantly, the core issue with IT consumerization is not whether the employee is bringing their own devices to work but a much more encompassing construct is recognizing the changing relationship between the consumer and their devices (Arnold, 2012). From the mGovernment perspective, the question thus becomes, how are governments currently facilitating citizen-consumer engagement via their mobile devices?

To expand on the above concepts, this paper proceeds in the following manner. In the next part of the paper, I define mGovernment and provide specific examples of how it facilitates citizen interaction in a global context. Next, I look at the citizen-consumer relationship. Literature from both the public and private sectors informs the citizen-consumer relationship. After this section, I present a theoretical model exploring the dynamics of the citizen-consumer engagement in the mGovernment environment. Using the above framework, I then collected data using a mobile app content analysis methodology to determine how users can engage through mGovernment. Implications and conclusions of the study follow.

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