E-Government and Digital Transformation: A Conceptual Framework for Risk Factors Identification

E-Government and Digital Transformation: A Conceptual Framework for Risk Factors Identification

Fatma Bouaziz
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8583-2.ch004
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This chapter aims to propose a conceptual framework for e-government risks identification through a literature review of papers specifically focusing on e-government risks. To achieve this objective, a content analysis of papers on e-government risks is made. This allows proposing a conceptual framework comprising a list of seven categories of risk factors, the negative consequences on the e-government project, and their impacts on its stakeholders. This conceptual framework can be useful for both researchers and practitioners. It offers a first step to enhance awareness of the various risk factors, their negative consequences on the project deployment, as well as their impacts on e-government stakeholders. Project managers can use it as a diagnostic tool of the risks of e-government projects, which will help better assessment and management of risks. For future research, it may be appropriate to investigate e-government risk factors using empirical research and draw conclusions about risk factors categories of e-government projects and their failure risk.
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In recent years, government organizations, over the world, have attempted to embrace the potential of digital technologies, included as a key objective in political agendas and strategic programs of government transformation. This use of digital technologies by government organizations is labeled as digital government. It corresponds to “the use of digital technologies, as an integrated part of governments’ modernization strategies, to create public value” (OECD, 2014, p. 6).

Several authors have regarded digital government as a strategic imperative for government organizations to improve service performance, enhance customer experience, streamline operations, and create new business models (Glyptis et al., 2020; Gong et al., 2020). Accordingly, digital government creates opportunities for enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and transparency, and improving communication, interaction, as well as collaboration between citizens and government organizations (Glyptiset al., 2020; Peharda et al., 2011), which are a sine qua non for co-production (Falco & Kleinhans, 2018). In addition, digital government leads to the transformation of government organizations and their interrelationships with stakeholders.

However, despite high expectations regarding digital government and its transformational potential, high failure rates, cost and time overruns, and unmet functional specifications are reported (Choudhari et al., 2007; Gong et al., 2020; Heeks, 2003). Gong et al. (2020) justified failures in transforming government organizations by the lack of understanding the complexity of digital transformation and the relationships among technologies, information use, organizational contexts, and institutional arrangements. Other researchers attribute this failure to the many risk factors that hinder the successful implementation of digital government projects (Bouaziz, 2006; Evangelidis, 2004; Weerakkody et al., 2015).

According to Gomes et al. (2020), risk management in project allows, through corrective actions, to direct the manager to the intended objective, without the risk spread being of great relevance. When applied to the management of e-government projects, risk management and risk assessment techniques would reduce the threats, which stem from the various risks of these projects (Choudhari et al., 2007). In fact, appropriate risk assessment methodologies are able to enhance decision-making by turning threats into opportunities. However, although digital government projects suffer from high failure rates, risk is not properly addressed by researches (Weerakkody et al., 2015).

Thus, in this chapter, the author aims to respond to the following question: what are the risk factors of e-government projects?

Studying e-government projects risks by focusing on the identification of the risk factors of these projects will contribute to narrow the research gap revealed by Weerakkody et al. (2015). In fact, these authors have proposed that risk factors in the context of e-government projects deserve more attention to reduce the research gap. Moreover, this reveals a paramount importance with the exponential and continuous evolution of information and communication technologies (ICTs) covering new trends such as Social Media Networks, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence. It will help develop a dynamic knowledge base to take new e-government risk factors in account and successfully lead to digital transformation of government organizations.

This chapter is organized as follows: in the first section, the concept of digital government is defined. Then, digital government is investigated as a means for digital transformation strategy of government organizations. Finally, risk of failure of e-government projects and risk management are discussed. The second section focuses on the research methodology. The third section examines the literature devoted to the risk factors in the specific context of e-government to propose a framework of e-government risk factors, project performance and impacts on stakeholders. The fourth, fifth and sixth sections are respectively devoted for solutions and recommendations, future research directions and conclusion.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Transformation Strategy: Builds on a business-centric perspective to focus on the transformation of products, processes, and organizational aspects owing to new technologies. It has a cross-functional character and needs to be aligned with other functional and operational strategies.

Digital Transformation: An ongoing process of using new digital technologies in everyday organizational life, which recognizes agility as the core mechanism for the strategic renewal of an organization’s business model, collaborative approach, and eventually the culture.

E-Government: Refers to services provision and information dissemination through ICTs by government organizations to their stakeholders (other government organizations, citizens, businesses, and civil society). It is the use of ICTs by government organizations in their processes of information, communication, transaction, and decision-making.

Undesirable Outcomes: Unexpected outcomes that a group did not want to happen but which did happen.

Risk Factors: Factors that act negatively on the result of e-government projects and hinder their success.

Risk Management: An iterative process including the steps of risk identification and analysis, risk assessment and prioritization, risk treatment, risk monitoring and control, and risk capitalization and documentation.

Negative Consequences: Include budget and schedule overruns, poor quality systems, user’s dissatisfaction, and systems abandon. They induce negative impacts or losses supported by e-government project stakeholders.

E-Democracy: The use of ICTs to support the process of broad participation of citizens, and of those of them who represent others, in the debate, political discourse, surfacing and elaboration of societal issues, emergence of representation, polling, and voting.

Digital Technologies: These are mobile technologies, social media, the Internet of things, wireless technology, sensor networks, artificial intelligence, Big Data, nanotechnology, biotechnology, cognitive systems, renewable energy technologies and biometric software.

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