E-Government, Democratic Governance and Integrative Prospects for Developing Countries: The Case for a Globally Federated Architecture

E-Government, Democratic Governance and Integrative Prospects for Developing Countries: The Case for a Globally Federated Architecture

Jeffrey P. Roy (University of Ottawa, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-116-2.ch006


The objectives of this chapter are threefold: first, to provide a conceptual framework for understanding e-government as a set of four interrelated dimensions of public sector change; second, to consider the relevance and applicability of this framework for both developed and developing nations; and third, to explore the interface between domestic and transnational governance reforms in an increasingly digital era. The world in the twenty-first century needs a globally federated governance architecture, the design of which must include social, economic, political, and technological considerations. This strengthened focus on transnational governance systems must also be joined by the recognition of the dysfunctional nature of the present system of bilateral international assistance programs among countries. With improved governance conditions of transparency and trust transnationally — facilitated in part by a much more politically creative and aggressive use of new technologies, the resources allocated by each country across their various recipients would serve both developing nations and the world as a whole if they were pooled and coordinated through new transnational mechanisms.
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Four Dimensions Of Public Sector Change

In order to understand e-governments impacts and potential, a framework of four main dimensions of change includes service, security, transparency, and trust (Roy 2006). All of these dimensions are related — directly or indirectly — to the widening presence and rapidly expanding importance of a digital infrastructure encompassing information and communication technologies and online connectivity.

The first two of these dimensions are primarily focused on changes to the internal decision-making architecture of government, in response to pressures and opportunities associated with the Internet. Indeed, delivering services online became the hallmark of e-government during the 1990s, as more and more citizens conduct their personal and professional affairs online, these “customers” of government look to do the same in dealing with state, whether it is paying their taxes or renewing permits and licenses of one sort or another (Curtin, Sommer, & Vis-Sommer, 2003). Although the initial impetus for utilizing online channels to deliver information and services was often financial savings through improved automation and efficiency, many such forecasts proved excessively optimistic due to investment costs and governance complexities (Allen, Paquet, Juillet, & Roy, 2005; Fountain, 2001). Functionality also remains limited, particularly with respect to the processing of financial payments. This is a limitation due in large measure to the concerns about security.

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