Developing an Instrument for E-Public Services’ Acceptance Using Confirmatory Factor Analysis: Middle East Context

Developing an Instrument for E-Public Services’ Acceptance Using Confirmatory Factor Analysis: Middle East Context

Ahmed Alzahrani (King Saud University, Saudi Arabia), Bernd Carsten Stahl (De Montfort University, UK) and Mary Prior (De Montfort University, UK)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/joeuc.2012070102
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Abstract

Governments worldwide spend billions from their allocated IT budgets to deliver convenient electronic services to their citizens. As a result, it is important to encourage citizens to use these services to avoid potential failures. Yet, few empirical studies exist that cover the relevant issues of adoption from the perspective of citizens in developing countries. Moreover, the need for a well-validated instrument to capture citizen adoption of such services is vital, given the vast investment in technology and the potential cost-saving implications. This study integrates elements from the most popular theories, including adoption technology acceptance model (TAM), innovation diffusion theory (IDT), and theory of planned behavior (TPB), in conjunction with web trust models. It develops an instrument to measure citizens’ acceptance of electronic public services by utilizing confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) within the structural equation modeling technique. Findings of a large scale data sampling of citizens in Saudi Arabia indicate that the proposed measurement model is an acceptable fit with the data. Overall, the findings supply a rigorous instrument for measuring citizens’ acceptance of e-public services, providing further insights for researchers and offering policy makers a suitable tool with which to study proposed strategies.
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Introduction

E-Government is the use of information and communications technology to deliver convenient and efficient services to citizens, businesses and government agencies. Although e-government is still a relatively new field, it has become a global phenomenon, and as such it attracts attention from different governments, organizations and researchers. Governments worldwide implement e-government by investing billions to enable electronic transaction systems. The initiatives should allow governments the opportunity to provide new channels of interaction with different government departments and business organizations leading to an increase in levels of performance and efficiency. E-government provides citizens with new sources of interaction between various governmental departments. Based on this diversity of beneficiaries, e-government projects have been categorized into three main dimensions: government-to-citizen (G2C), government-to-government (G2G) and government-to-business (G2B) (Affisco & Soliman, 2006; OMB, 2002).

Many researchers have recognized this advancement and begun investigating these innovations and the surrounding phenomenon based on the three dimensions given above. The literature search conducted for this study revealed that the majority of studies have focused on addressing e-government adoption at the G2G level rather than at the G2C level. Although e-government projects are expected to provide great benefits to citizens, businesses and governments, the literature reports that citizens receive the widest array of e-government benefits (Akman et al., 2005; Jaeger, 2003; Floropoulos et al., 2010). The success of e-government is contingent upon citizens and their acceptance of such services. Governments have to ensure their projects are being utilized effectively by citizens in order to reap all the potential benefits of such services and avoid possible failures.

While there have been extensive studies on the citizen adoption of e-government in western countries over the past five years, there is no instrument for evaluating the acceptance of it in developing countries and in particular in the Middle East. The examination of the literature in respect of technology adoption reveals that such studies have been extensively researched in the western world (Al-Gahtani et al., 2007; Elbeltagi et al., 2005, Al Sukkar & Hasan, 2005). However, for a number of reasons discussed herein, the implications of such studies are not necessarily applicable to the Middle East (Baker et al., 2007).

The major issue that is immediately apparent pertains to how citizens’ demand for e-government services can most effectively be measured. It is important to develop standardized instruments for measuring adoption of e-government technology from the citizens’ viewpoint to ensure uniform and repeatable assessments. According to the authors' knowledge, there have been no attempts to address this issue from the perspective of multi-dimension theories like technology acceptance models and trust as discussed in this confirmatory study. Consequently, the purpose of this paper twofold: first, to identify the potential constructs most likely to capture acceptance; and then second, to validate and confirm the findings in the Middle East region, focusing on Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a useful example of an environment with an emergent potential for the successful application of e-government, whilst simultaneously being a leader in the Middle East in terms of technology, economy and culture. Indeed, according to the world broadband statistics produced by Point Topic Ltd in London; Saudi Arabia was among the top ten countries in the annual growth of new broadband subscribers (Vanier, 2008). It had 460,000 new broadband subscribers achieving the highest annual growth rate in the period from 2007 to 2008. Thus, findings will be relevant beyond the country context and will also seek to verify the applicability of such a study in the Middle East.

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