Electronic Government: Assimilation Gaps and Implications

Electronic Government: Assimilation Gaps and Implications

Nabeel A. Al-Qirim (UAE University, Al-Ain, UAE)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/jitr.2009062904
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This research is interested in unveiling the hype surrounding the Electronic Government (eGov) phenomenon and in shedding more light into the different issues surrounding its multifaceted perspectives. Unlike electronic commerce and the private sector, eGov sets at the heart of governmental services and represents a unique paradigm on its own with different constituents and objectives. The stakeholders involved in eGov are both diverse and heterogeneous—which makes the issue of eGov adoption and diffusion a challenging task for many countries. This research disentangles the issues impacting eGov highlighting different determinants and success factors. The research then depicts an agenda for eGov success at the national level.
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The witnessed increase in global Internet penetration and technological development, electronic commerce (EC), miniaturization, and ubiquity have revolutionized systems integration and interconnectedness in unprecedented way. In addition, increased competition amongst nations and technology vendors and growing global trends ignited a race where electronic government (eGov) development is seen as an enabler for the envisioned transformation of governmental services.

E-Gov is widely perceived to fundamentally reform, modernize and improve government activities (Foley, 2005). The strategic growth of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in government has the potential to cause a paradigm shift in the concept of service delivery where, for example, the online environment could empower the citizens and this holds the power to alter both the authority and the governance structures of many countries (Tseng et al., 2007). On the one hand, eGov is seen as a tool to promote social cohesion and involvement. On the other, meeting citizens’ expectations should transcend personal satisfaction to the fulfillment of broader socio-economic and sociopolitical goals that characterize so many eGov projects (i.e., quality of healthcare and education (Grimsley & Meehan, 2007). This move from agency-oriented to citizen-centric meant that eGov projects should improve access to service delivery and the quality of information, enhance the experience of interacting with government, reduce wait times, and assist consumers and business (Esteves & Joseph, 2007).

In 2003, OECD defined eGov as “the use of ICT, and particularly the Internet, as a tool to achieve better government” (Foley, 2005: p.4). Other researchers prefer to use the “one-stop” government concept which refers to the integration of public services from a citizen’s point of view where a user could access all governmental services through a single government access point (i.e., eGov portal) (Trochidis et al., 2006) — The drive for such use stems from:

  • a.

    the complexity of the Government structure.

  • b.

    the functional fragmentation in public service delivery.

  • c.

    lack of coordination between the different Government agencies.

  • d.

    divide between service delivery and citizens.

  • e.

    ICT solutions provided by vendors are EC-based applications transformed and parameterized to public administration methodologies.

In providing a comprehensive definition, eGov refers to the government use of ICT (i.e., Wide Area Networks (WAN), the Internet, and mobile computing) to increase the flow of information and to enhance the access and delivery of government services to different stakeholders [citizens (G2C), businesses (G2B), other governmental entities (G2G), and employees (G2E)] leading to the full transformation. We add to those other stakeholders including G2NGO (Government to Non-Governmental Organizations) and G2NPO (Government to Non-Profit Organizations) (Montagna, 2005). Esteves and Joseph (2007) added ICT vendors and interest groups. E-Gov also aims to build a two way relationships between the government and the above stakeholders. E-Gov projects involve a wide range of services, products, people, and procedures which need to be scoped carefully in order not to grow in complexity and to overshoot the planned budget (Esteves & Joseph, 2007) and duration. Such scope may involve an overlapping interrelationships between three important constituents namely, administration; citizens and services; and society.

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