Building Trust in E-Government Adoption through an Intermediary Channel

Building Trust in E-Government Adoption through an Intermediary Channel

Faris Al-Sobhi (Brunel University, UK), Vishanth Weerakkody (Brunel University, UK) and Ramzi El-Haddadeh (Brunel University, UK)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/jegr.2012040105
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Abstract

E-government has become an essential strategy for many governments in their efforts to increase accessibility and facilitate improved diffusion of public sector services. However, citizens’ adoption of online public services has been obstructed by factors such as, digital divide, accessibility, and trust. This study examines the influencing role that intermediaries can play in helping to facilitate the adoption of electronic government services. A case study is undertaken in Medinah City to explore how third party intermediary organisations can help in building trust, reduce digital divide and improve accessibility of public services to citizens. While the literature highlights extensively the challenges of e-government adoption and diffusion, the results of this exploratory study demonstrate that intermediaries can play a significant role in overcoming these potential challenges.
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1. Introduction

The term globalisation may have many different meanings to different people depending on its context as there is no common definition that can specify globalisation. Nevertheless, the dimensions of globalisation and its impact can be divided into four important aspects: economic, political, cultural and environmental aspect (Wiseman, 1998). ‘Citizenship’ driven by globalization aims to leverage participating individuals in life activities, interconnection and the ability to combine globally through ICTs. Carnoy (1999) associated globalisation with the technology revolution and states that “globalisation together with new information technology and innovation processes they foment are driving a revolution in the organisation of work, the production of goods and services, relations among nations, and even local culture. No community is immune from the effects of these revolutions. It is changing the very fundamentals of human relations and social life” (p. 14). Walsham (2001) posits that this change is enabled through ICTs and Lect and Grosseck (2005) suggests that, in terms of global expansion, ICTs have made significant impact in many countries over the world. Examples of these impacts include the radical shift of how government organisations are structured, changes in economic movement, and changing ways of communication and development as a whole. ICTs change the way of doing things from a distance. For instance, North America, Europe and South East Asia are three regions that have felt the most significant impact. They have played a significant role in impacting social and economic development (Hanna, 2003). Similarly, Selwyn (2004) added that ICTs can empower individuals’ participation in democracy, raise social communication and enable government services. Additionally, however, he argued that if citizens were excluded from the benefits of ICTs they lose the opportunities that ICTs can add to societies.

Recently, many governments across the world have recognized the importance of ICTs for the delivery of services to businesses, citizens and even for communication between government agencies. Moreover, the most significant local and global initiatives of public administration were dependent on the adequate application of ICTs and amongst these initiatives electronic government (e-government) implementations were the most successful. Researchers such as Stoltzfus (2005) state that e-government is a global phenomenon that many countries over the world are aiming to establish. The reason behind this is external global pressures (international recognition of the state being an e-government state), and internal citizens-centric administration. Therefore, e-government establishment is no longer optional or an added burden for countries but an essential core activity to promote better governance (Gupta & Jana, 2003; Mulgan & Albury, 2003). As such, the most important aspects of any new e-government initiative is that it should enhance the relationship between governments and their stakeholders, particularly citizens. However, the adoption levels of e-government differ from country to country for reasons such as demographic gaps, education levels and the experiences of using technology (Internet). Consequently, the diffusion and adoption of e-government services has been given much attention by a number of researchers (Bélanger & Carter, 2006; Al-Shafi & Weerakkody, 2007; Eyob, 2004).

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