Factors Influencing Electronic Government Social Sustainability

Factors Influencing Electronic Government Social Sustainability

Emad Abu-Shanab, Heba Al-Quraan
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTHD.2015040103
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The diffusion of the Internet and other ICT tools has participated successfully to increasing the interaction between citizens, businesses, and governments. Citizens became active participants in both political as well as social reform process. Efforts should be exerted towards sustaining e-government projects to gain the benefits from such initiatives in facilitating work, improving quality of services, enhancing the process of service provision, saving cost, reducing errors, and encourage the communication with political bodies in country. This study tried to explore the factors that influence the sustainability of e-government projects through an empirical study that utilized 248 surveys collected randomly within the educational sector. Results indicated that participation, awareness, and availability were significant predictors of such construct, while trust was not a significant predictor.
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1. Introduction

The wide spread of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) made it possible to interact and communicate in a convenient, easy and fast mode. The Internet and social media (SM) closely bonded people and entered our daily activities. ICTs, the Internet and SM and their applications, entered all domains in our life; marketing, education, entertainment, and health. The public sector benefited from such paradigm especially in improving the provided service and improving government’s performance.

Electronic government (e-government) became a phenomenon more than an application or a website. The main objective behind e-government is to make communication and interaction between stakeholders who may be individuals, businesses, and other agencies and their government much easier and more open (Joseph, 2013). E-government employs ICT tools to promote government itself in an efficient and effective manner, in order to facilitate both the accessibility to government services, as well as to improve the accountability of government to citizens (Odat & Khazaaleh, 2012).

The basic definition of e-government is to utilize ICT capabilities to improve provided services, public performance, the democratic process and social reform (Abu-Shanab, 2012). Similar to such definition, e-government is defined as a tool to enhance performance of government, reduce its costs, increase flexibility and transparency, provide broader services, speed up transactions, and foster accountability (Alawneh, Al-Refai & Batiha, 2013).

One of the most common applications of e-government from a political perspective is e-democracy, which involves e-participation as an online service capability or medium that empowers citizens to participate in the political process with the required level of transparency and freedom. Applications of e-democracy can include online voting and being involved in any political decision making process (Hu, Shi, Pan & Wang, 2012). Requirements of e-democracy can be summarized in the following; principles of access, personalized information, awareness of the rights and duties, convenient services, trust, reliability, and accountability (Kardan & Sadeghiani, 2011). Finally, the definition of Abu-Shanab (2012) mentioned earlier, emphasized the social development and social inclusion which makes e-government’s responsibility to include all categories of society in the political process.

Based on that, e-government applications are important for facilitating our daily transactions conducted over the web. Citizens, businesses, and governmental agencies have the responsibility for the success of such project and its sustainability. Such perspective defines a crucial relationship, where stakeholders have a social responsibility to each other, but e-government is the vehicle to sustain such relationship. This paper emphasizes the importance of efficient and effective participation of stakeholders to attain the required sustainability of e-government applications.

This paper aims to clarify the relationship between both social sustainability and e-government program. Two major research questions are answered and they are:

  • RQ1: What is the relationship between social sustainabilityand e-government?

  • RQ2: What are the factors influencing e-government sustainability?

The paper proposes a research model with constructs that represent the major constituints of the two phenomenon. The measurement and evaluation processes are achieved by applying a quantitative method utilizing a survey instrument. After distributing the questionnaires, respondents should report their opinions to whether social sustainability factors might lead to the continuity of e-government project or such sustainability could affect the previous mentioned factors. Social responsibility factors include: awareness, availability, participation, and trust.

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