The Role of Social Media in the Diffusion of E-Government and E-Commerce

The Role of Social Media in the Diffusion of E-Government and E-Commerce

Ibrahim Osman Adam, Muftawu Dzang Alhassan
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IRMJ.2021040104
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This study attempts to empirically examine the role of social media use on the diffusion of e-government and e-commerce. This study departs from previous studies that have investigated social media effects on e-government and e-commerce as silo phenomena without examining the mediating role of other national-level factors. Using data drawn from archival sources for 135 countries for 2016, the study, through a model built on the technology-organization-environment framework, examines the mediating role of other national-level factors by employing partial least squares structural equation modelling. The findings provide evidence that social media use significantly influences the development of e-government and the diffusion of e-commerce globally. However, the mediating role of the political and regulatory environment was found not to be influential. Some implications of the study for research and practice are provided.
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1. Introduction

The advent of web 2.0 and its interactive nature has laid solid foundations for heightened interactivity for improved social ties, business relations, and government services. Although the Internet has been leveraged on greatly because of its commercial potential (Shaltoni, 2017), social media has specifically enabled citizens, and firms to not only communicate, but share information on products and services (Akman & Mishra, 2017; Chikandiwa, Contogiannis, & Jembere, 2013). Through social media, businesses can market their products and services to a wide scope of individuals around the globe. Similarly, individuals can obtain detailed information (e.g. reviews on products and services, etc.) about products and services online which influences their online buying patterns (Saravanakumar & SuganthaLakshmi, 2012; Yadav & Rahman, 2017). According to a survey conducted in May 2018, 58 percent of responding United States customers agreed that they felt affected by social media when making purchasing decisions (Statista, 2019). Kaplan & Haenlein (2010, p. 61) refer social media as “a group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technical foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content”. Murugesan (2007), further contends that social media provides a multitude of online information sources that customers generate, share, and use to educate each other about the goods, services and brands available on the market. Not only does social media benefit citizens and businesses, but governments around the globe are similarly leveraging on social media to promote e-government. According to Bertot, Jaeger, & Hansen (2012) social media has become an integral component of e-government. Therefore, with the use of social media, governments are able to connect and communicate easily with citizens and to enable democratic participation, collaboration and quick decision making (Bertot, Jaeger, & Grimes, 2010; Olumoye & Govender, 2018). Abu-Shanab (2013) argues that e-government is the use of ICTs, mobile technology and the internet to provide the citizens with the services they need, to improve the performance of public agencies, to facilitate successful public participation and to involve citizens in a total process of social development.

Over the years, the focus of IS research has sought to concentrate on the adoption and use of social media (Abubakar, Patricia, Samuel, & Totolo, 2017; Bharati, Zhang, & Chaudhury, 2014; Curtis et al., 2010), e-government (Olumoye & Govender, 2018; Srivastava & Teo, 2009; Verkijika & De Wet, 2018) and e-commerce (Bagale, 2014; Ghobakhloo, Arias-Aranda, & Benitez-Amado, 2011; Rahayu & Day, 2015). In addition, these phenomena are usually examined in duality either by investigating the interactive effects of social media on e-government or social media on e-commerce. Specifically, these studies have explored the role of social media on e-government development (Bertot et al., 2012; Gao & Lee, 2017) and the effect of social media on e-commerce (Lee & Phang, 2015; Shaltoni, 2017). However, with the increasing use of social media by businesses and citizens’ across the globe, it is imperative to examine the dual effects of social media on e-government and e-commerce development. The use of social media has not only enabled governments to communicate with citizens (Gao & Lee, 2017) but also enabled businesses to increase their revenues by providing tailored goods and services to their customers (Kim & Kim, 2018) without location and time constraints. Furthermore, to ensure the effective use of technology in a country it is vital to have a regulatory body that ensures that the privacy and security of individuals are protected and that individuals benefit from the use of technologies (Ackerman & Davis, 2008). With the need to fill these gaps in literature, this study seeks to answer the following questions;

  • a.

    What is the effect of social media on the diffusion of e-government and e-commerce?

  • b.

    What is the mediating effect of the political and regulatory environment on the relationship between social media and e-government, and e-commerce?

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