Social Media Usage in E-Government: Mediating Role of Government Participation

Social Media Usage in E-Government: Mediating Role of Government Participation

Khadija Ali Vakeel (Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA) and Prabin Kumar Panigrahi (Department of Information Systems, Indian Institute of Management Indore, Indore, India)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/JGIM.2018010101
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When citizens are actively engaged in e-government processes as co-creators it leads to e-government development. Citizen participation in e-government is a recent phenomenon where government is seeking more involvement of citizens through different platforms. Whether citizens' participation through social media platforms leads to e-government development has been a debate in literature. In this research study, the authors investigate whether social media usage influences government's role in e-government development. Power distance between government and citizen also plays a role in deciding the extent of e-participation in e-government. In this study, the authors examine the relationship between social media, power distance, citizen engagement and e-government development. Using customer focus theory and agency theory, this study establishes that e-participation initiative by government acts as a mediator in the relation between social media usage by citizen as well as power distance to e-government development.
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Electronic-government (e-government) development is a comprehensive phenomenon that measures the performance of technology, policy and national strategy of a country (Grant & Chau, 2005; Siau & Long, 2006). E-government focuses on “how governments are using websites and web portals to deliver public services and expand opportunities for citizen to participate in decision making” (United Nations, 2010). Through this initiative the government seeks to establish direct conversation, exchange information and provide services to its citizens.

Social media can play an important role of connecting government with citizen as it has redefined the way Internet users communicate with one another (Kuzma, 2010). The government is increasingly adopting social media for two-way interactions with citizens to engage and collaborate with them (Zavattaro & Samantelli, 2014). Many countries are using different social media tools, such as instant messaging, wiki etc., to interact with their citizens (United Nations, 2014). Social media provides a platform to governments to gain customers’ focus on their activities and processes. Social media finds several definitions in literature. It has been defined as “creating, organizing, editing, combining, sharing, commenting and rating web content as well as forming a social network by interacting and linking to each other” (Chun et al., 2010 p. 2). Social media facilitates citizen partnership in a structured way for improving relationships, establishing new connections and facilitating better decision making (Ballejos & Montagna, 2010). Interactions on social media are mostly open with little censorship, thus increasing democracy and participation (Azad et al., 2010; Bertot et al., 2010). It is low cost, reaches a heterogeneous audience quickly, as well as generates knowledge and ideas for various uses (Chatfeild et al.; 2013; Karantzeni & Gouscous, 2013; Charalabidis & Loukis, 2014).

Electronic participation (e-participation) or citizen engagement refers to the initiatives taken by the government of a country to involve citizens in decision making (United Nations, 2010).

Engagement of citizens in e-government development involves four technology task couplings where social media can be used - information dissemination, feedback on service quality, participation and internal work collaboration (Oliveira & Welch, 2013; Lohan, 2013). This being said, even though there is presence of government on social media, the two-way communication between citizen and government is essentially missing (Abdelsalam et al., 2013; Sáez-Martín et al., 2014) and it just remains one-way communication from the government to disseminate information to citizens.

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