Sociotechnical Factors in the Endorsement of Governmental E-Transactions

Sociotechnical Factors in the Endorsement of Governmental E-Transactions

Ibrahim Abunadi (College of Computer and Information Sciences, Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) and Fayez Hussain Alqahtani (Computer Science Department, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/JGIM.2019070103

Abstract

The success of governmental e-transactions in developing countries is due to the effective utilization of information communication technology. The current literature reports that e-transactions can meet with citizen reluctance. Due to its nature as a sociotechnical system, this article investigates the role of sociotechnical factors in the endorsement of e-transactions. Quantitative research was conducted to analyze online data from 663 participants from a population of 80,000 online users. Structural equation modelling was also performed to examine the association between sociotechnical factors and the acceptance of e-transactions. The results suggest that sociotechnical factors influence the usage of e-transactions. Thus, a theoretical sociotechnical model was developed which includes three levels: technical, organizational and social. A number of design and implementation activities, related to the three theorized levels, were suggested to guide governments in increasing the acceptance of e-transactions.
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Introduction

The rapid advancements in information and communication technology affect various professions and also people’s personal lives. The integration of technology has also dramatically affected how citizens communicate with government; one effect has been the evolution of e-government transactions or e-transactions (Siau & Long, 2009). In simple terms, e-government is the use of online communication mediums to provide routine services to citizens (Cordella, Hesse, & Irani, 2015). Within the public sector, e-transactions represented fundamental changes in the structures, values, and ways of performing the delivery of governmental services. In the context of governmental services, e-transactions are contact points where citizens can deal with the government directly. These dealings could include as examples: issuing construction permits, extracting national IDs and applying for passports. The significant implementation of e-transactions in many countries is due to the effective utilization of ICT.

The utilization of ICT for delivering governmental services through e-transactions can provide a number of benefits. For example, e-transactions can increase governmental agencies’ accessibility and provide diverse channels of communication at a lower cost (Gilbert, Balestrini, & Littleboy, 2004; Venkatesh, Thong, Chan, & Hu, 2016). Many recent studies reported people’s reluctance to embrace e-transactions as a means of receiving governmental services (Alsaeed, Adams, & Boakes, 2014). Hence, the information systems literature was trying to address this issue by, for example, looking at the technological perspective of e-transactions. This technological view relates the acceptance of e-transactions to its technological characteristics such as its ease of use and usefulness (Al-Gahtani, 2011). However, e-government transactions can be considered as a sociotechnical system that has a wide interaction with citizens whose context could affect their usage of this system (Damodaran, Nicholls, Henney, Land, & Farbey, 2005; Khan, Moon, Park, Swar, & Rho, 2011).

A sociotechnical perspective views information systems as a structure of technical, organizational and social elements. The success of information systems, according to this perspective, can be only achieved if these three elements are considered concurrently (Damodaran et al., 2005; Trist & Bamforth, 1951). E-transactions inherit such a structure as society interacts with government organizations and technologies to achieve outcomes which cannot be attained by one of these elements independently. Therefore, it is necessary to identify sociotechnical factors which play a major role in the acceptance of governmental e-transactions. The role of sociotechnical factors indicating the usage of computers (Ali & Alshawi, 2004) and the Internet (Gong, Li, & Stump, 2007) has been studied extensively; however, the literature contained few studies that focus on the impact of sociotechnical aspects of e-government acceptance (Khan et al., 2011; Meijer & Bekkers, 2015). Most studies on e-government focused on the technological perspective such as (Abanumy, Al-Badi, & Mayhew, 2005; Harrison & Zappen, 2015; Krishnaraju, Mathew, & Sugumaran, 2016). Also, current studies embracing the sociotechnical perspective in the e-government literature were exploratory in nature by only reviewing the literature (Khan et al., 2011) or by applying a qualitative methodology (Hedström, Karlsson, & Söderström, 2016). Therefore, this research adopted a holistic and empirical approach to explain the acceptance of e-transactions with a focus on sociotechnical factors. We attempt to answer the following research questions:

  • What are the technical and organizational factors affecting the acceptance of e-transactions?

  • What is the effect of utilizing e-transactions as a means of communication?

  • What impact do social aspects have on the acceptance of e-transactions?

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