E-Government: Status Quo and Future Trends

E-Government: Status Quo and Future Trends

Tobias Kollmann (University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany) and Ina Kayser (University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-611-7.ch127
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Abstract

According to the recent worldwide UN e-government survey, a rising trend towards the electronic reform of the public sector around the world becomes apparent (UNPAN 2008). Hence, the mere processing of detached transactions in government e-services is increasingly replaced by a complex process framework to develop an integrative approach for unidirectional as well as for bidirectional government and citizen (G2C, C2G), government and business (G2B, B2G), and government and government (G2G) communication and services. This article provides an overview of current findings in the realm of e-government and presents future directions of research. Therefore, we perform a keyword analysis of current high-quality research in the field of e-government.
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Background

The rising scope and possibilities of information technology (IT) during the past century accounts for the increasing diffusion of IT in our every-day life (Kollmann & Häsel 2006). Consequently, the modernization of public administration, i.e., the facilitation and processing of government-related tasks by the means of information and communication technology was merely a matter of time. Accordingly, the term e-government refers to electronically (predominantly online) offered services regarding information, communication, and transaction in support of government-related processes.

Among other things, the announcement of Denmark’s integrated state information systems was one of the important milestones towards the emergence of e-government research in the early 1990s (Costake 2008). Subsequently, the G7 special meeting in 1995 gave direction to e-government research when the term ‘online government’ appeared within a project (Leitner 2003). Since the late 1990s, e-government projects and research were put in place in all major institutions, e.g. the OECD, the World Bank, and the UN. Nowadays, e-government projects face various challenges, primarily with respect to trust and privacy issues. This goes along with the emergence of considerable e-government projects in research in the early and mid 2000s, the launch of academic journals focusing on e-government (e.g., Electronic Journal of E-Government, launched in 2005), and the initiation of important conferences (e.g., International Conference of E-Government, first meeting in 2002). To narrow the focus, the trade-off between confidence and trust in e-government as opposed to increasing government accountability facilitated by e-government services is in the focus of attention (Carter & Belanger 2004). Additionally, overcoming the digital divide is still a current topic of discussion in both research and practice. What is more, government applications need to fulfill particular demands deriving from public administration and law requirements. In spite of all criticisms, e-government applications allow for a considerable simplification of public services. Accordingly, the location-independent and time efficient handling of government processes is facilitated, which is not only desirable and valuable for citizens but can for example also be a factor of success in the fast moving realm of e-entrepreneurship (Kollmann 2006).

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Government: The term ‘e-government’ refers to the facilitation of G2G, G2C, and G2B (and vice versa) processes by the means of information technology. This includes not merely information processes but also communication and, more importantly, transaction processes.

Trust: Research on trust is multifaceted and is present in many different realms of research. With respect to electronic government, trust has got distinct dimensions. Most importantly, trust in information and communication technology and trust in the government itself are crucial.

Identity: The electronic processing of digital government services requires a proper identity management, ensuring privacy, integrity, and confidentiality of identity-related data.

E-Voting: E-voting describes a component of e-democracy being concerned with the electronic realization and execution of electoral processes including both online elections and electronic voting machines.

Adoption: As opposed to the mere acceptance of e-government services, adoption accounts for the actual use of digital government services.

E-Democracy: E-democracy represents a sub-category of e-government and embraces processes being concerned with the forming of the political will.

E-Service: Within e-government research, the term e-service refers to those applications being provided electronically by a particular public authority both for administrative purposes as well as for democratic participation.

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