The E-Governance Concerns in Information System Design for Effective E-Government Performance Improvement

The E-Governance Concerns in Information System Design for Effective E-Government Performance Improvement

Kam Hou Vat (University of Macau, Macau)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-671-6.ch003
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Abstract

This chapter investigates a set of governance concerns related to the electronic transformation of public administration for performance improvement under the context of reinventing government in the knowledge age. Of specific interest is the organizational context to situate information systems (IS) design for services referring mainly to the decisions that define expectations, enable empowerment, or verify performance of the people or units involved. In particular, this research is looking into the transformative impact of such an IS effort on the design of a citizen-centric model of public service in the digital operation of today’s government (or e-government). Meanwhile, e-governance should relate to the practical rendering over an electronic environment such practices as consistent management, cohesive policies, responsive processes, and decision-rights for different areas of responsibilities. The framework of analysis in this discussion should accommodate the configuration of a government unit’s value profile in public sector as exemplified in many of today’s citizen-centric societies. This framework highlights a public sector reform approach to nurture information systems (IS) support for improving public sector management. The premise of our exploration is that as we move into the knowledge society, more and more public sector organizations should fulfill their roles from the creation and application of knowledge. This is an example of the value shop model, in which value is created by configuring and applying specific knowledge to solve problems in citizens’ areas of interest. This discussion covers the issues in digitizing knowledge portfolios in support of performance improvement among institutional units. Thereby, managing knowledge work at the e-government level is a behavior involving various e-governance concerns such as challenges on internal enculturation of participative knowledge sharing among public sector organizations, and on the proper understanding of the institution’s context of public service development.
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The Context Of E-Transformation In Governance

Today, the connotation behind the “e” transformation of governance is an important policy issue and surely one that will influence how governments and citizens will interact in the coming decade (Oliver & Sanders, 2004). Clearly, the Internet and the information technologies have the potential to fundamentally change how society is governed and what role citizens come to play in that important process (Garson, 2007). Still, as the “e” prefix becomes affixed to more and more aspects of governance and government operations, it is helpful to clarify the differences between governance and government, and the implications behind their “e” counterparts. According to Kettl (2002), government is an institutional superstructure that society uses to translate politics into policies and legislation.

Governance is the outcome of the interaction of government, the public service, and citizens throughout the political process of policy development, program design, and service delivery. Put it simply, one might say that governments are specialized institutions that contribute to governance. As for the meanings of their “e” counterparts, Riley (2001) provides a useful description for e-governance: In its simplest sense, e-governance is about the use of emerging information and communication technologies (ICT) to facilitate the processes of government and public administration. It is about providing citizens with the ability to choose the manner in which they wish to interact with their governments. And it is about the choices governments make about how ICT will be deployed to support citizen choices.

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Government: The use of internet technology as a platform for exchanging information, providing services and transacting with citizens, businesses, and other arms of government. e-Government may be applied by the legislature, judiciary, or administration, in order to improve internal efficiency, the delivery of public services, or processes of democratic governance.

Public administration: The development, implementation and study of branches of government policy.

e-Portfolio: An electronic space to reflect upon a person’s or an organization’s digital identity, including relevant working experiences in terms of artifacts that relate to his or her professional career, or the organizational profiles detailing the mission, history and achievement of the enterprise.

Government: A government is the organization, that is, the governing authority of a political unit, the ruling power in a political society, and the apparatus through which a governing body functions and exercises authority.

E-Governance: The use of emerging information and communication technologies (ICT) to facilitate the processes of government and public administration. It is about providing citizens with the ability to choose the manner in which they wish to interact with their governments. And it is about the choices governments make about how ICT will be deployed to support citizen choices.

Electronic transformation: The process of organization transformation from a bricks-and-mortar entity to its clicks-and-mortar counterpart, involving the use of various information and communications technologies (ICT) to enhance the productivity of the enterprise in the Internet era.

Governance: Referring to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists either of a separate process or of a specific part of management or leadership processes. In the case of a business or of a non-profit organization, governance relates to consistent management, cohesive policies, processes and decision-rights for a given area of responsibility. In the governmental setting, governance is often considered as the outcome of interaction among the government body, the public service, and citizens throughout the political process of policy development, program design, and service delivery.

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