Do Social Media and e-WOM Influence M-Government Services?: A Citizen Perspective From India

Do Social Media and e-WOM Influence M-Government Services?: A Citizen Perspective From India

Sunith Hebbar, Kiran K.B.
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/IJEGR.294891
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In Web-4 technologies, Social media (SM) has emerged as a prominent tool for the government to interact and engage with citizens. It is also an effective channel for providing government services. However, for effective implementation and its success, it is critical to understand the citizens' perceptions towards the government's use of SM and its impact on mobile government (MG) adoption. Consequently, the study focuses on assessing the impact of SM influence and electronic word of mouth (e-WOM) on MG service parameters such as MG Awareness, MG Transparency, and MG Trust. The results of structural equation modelling revealed the significance of e-WOM on improving MG awareness and trust and SM Influence. Further, SM Influence had a direct impact only on MG Transparency. However, results revealed the importance of SM Influence and MG Transparency as a mediator for MG Trust. Besides, gender and age as moderators are investigated and discussed in detail.
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1. Introduction

The advent of Web 4 technologies with smart and powerful interfaces which are proactive, autonomous, self-learning, and collaborative makes web services of superior quality. Here, technologies such as the internet of things, blockchain, cloud computing, social media, and so on are prominent ones that aid in the development of a smart system. A smart technology is where there is interconnection and continuous communication taking place in the system in an intelligent way to enhance operational efficiency and performance (Patil & Surwade, 2018). These systems are fast and effective in enhancing the participation in online networks delivering global transparency, improved mass participation, and collaborative environment across different communities such as business and government (Patil & Surwade, 2018). Integration of these technologies with social media, with its ease of use and ability to reach out faster, would be critically valuable (Manocha et al., 2021; Smirnova, 2020). The governments across the globe have realized the potential of these technologies and are moving towards smart governance. It aims to make a collaborative open governance system where public satisfaction and improved standard of living are given the highest priority (Hariguna & Ruangkanjanases, 2021; Valle-Cruz, 2019). The developing countries including India present an interesting trend in this. Initially, there was hesitancy and reluctance by the governments in adopting the Web 4 technologies due to a number of reasons (Pandey, 2021). However, the changing global dynamics and technological incursions have ushered in a change in attitude in a drastic manner (Chatterjee, 2020; Pandey, 2021). For instance, the Government of India is focusing on digital drive as a priority area and is keen to adopt Web4 technologies (Manocha et al., 2021). Here, the government initiatives are aiming towards encouraging all departments to implement these technologies, and accordingly newer guidelines on the use of these technologies, such as SM and Blockchain, have been released (MeitY, 2021a, 2021b). These clearly reflects the government's emphasis on Web-4 technologies in social media governance.

A social media governance mainly refers to the use of SM by the institutions such as government to involve key stakeholders in decision making (Pandey, 2021). The other key role of this technology for the government is to enhance the delivery of public services by integrating it with mobile technologies (Manocha et al., 2021). The integration is believed to be significant considering socio-economic diversity of India. It will have drastic impact on MG services making it a convenient and most preferred option by the public (Chatterjee, 2020; Hariguna & Ruangkanjanases, 2021). However, these Web-4 technologies with SM and Mobile pose a number of challenges and risks. One of the primary concerns, as reflected in previous literature, is citizens' reluctance to use these newer technologies. Understanding people's opinions and focusing on developing a favourable public opinion are critical in this case, necessitating citizen perspective studies (Al-Aufi et al., 2017; Khan et al., 2021). Moreover, though the accessibility makes it a desirable option, the instantaneous impact of SM may prove as a double edged sword with its possibility of swaying opinions (Kar & Aswani, 2021; Lissitsa, 2021). The challenges such a misinformation, disinformation, privacy and security pose a great threat and if not managed appropriately impact negatively on the governance system (Khan et al., 2021; Lissitsa, 2021). This may erode the trust in the government among the public (Valle-Cruz, 2019; Zhang & Guo, 2021). A similar recent event incurred on the new social media privacy rules declared by GOI and the opposition for the same by social media giants like Facebook, WhatsApp makes it an essential priority which cannot be neglected at any cost (Menn, 2021). The resistance to change among the service providers (i.e. government officials) is a concern which effects the quality of service delivery (Metallo et al., 2020). Furthermore, the digital divide of the citizens is another key concern impacting the adoption (Reddick et al., 2020).

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