The Role of Government in E-Business Adoption

The Role of Government in E-Business Adoption

Barbara Roberts (The University of Southern Queensland, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-086-8.ch002


An analysis of the role of government in e-business adoption is provided in this chapter, with empirical evidence from Australia included. It is shown that government influence is multifaceted. Governments champion e-business adoption for national economic gain; they provide the physical network on which much of e-business depends and increasingly provide e-government services to improve regulation and compliance effectiveness. E-government in particular can act as a strong driver of organisational adoption for some types of e-business processes. Implications for theory from a DOI perspective are included. The authors hope that further research by IS professionals will guide future e-business project directions by improving the understanding of government’s role in e-business adoption in practice, which in turn will improve theoretical understanding of how the benefits can best be maximized.
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E-business is used for a wide range of purposes and types as the following definition illustrates: “the use of Internet technologies to link customers, suppliers, business partners, and employees using at least one of the following: (a)e-commerce Web sites that offer sales transactions, (b)customer-service Web sites, (c)intranets and enterprise information portals, (d)extranets and supply chains, and (e)IP electronic data interchange” (Wu, Mahajan, & Balasubramanian, 2003, p. 425). Also, it is often assumed that an explicit and close connection between e-business and competitive advantage exists, as the next definition illustrates: “As a way of doing business, e-business refers to the use of business processes that leverage technology — and especially the Internet and World Wide Web (the Web) — to maintain or create competitive advantage” (McKie, 2001, p. xvi). This automatic coupling of e-business with the delivery of some level of guaranteed benefit is one which appears regularly in the literature (Porter, 2001; Sawhney & Zabin, 2001). However the relationship between e-business and delivered benefit is unlikely to be consistent for all types of e-business processes, and does not necessarily exist for all stakeholders involved in its adoption and use. Despite this note of caution, many governments around the world are committed to providing e-government for their nation’s citizens and organisations in the form of government information and services on the Web because of the expected benefits such as improved effectiveness and greater convenience of access (Gefen, Pavlou, Warkentin, & Rose, 2002; NOIE, 2003b; Turban, King, Lee, Warkentin, & Chung, 2002).

Internet-enabled e-business is credited with delivering a new type of Internet-based economy in which information flows are improved while associated costs are reduced (Dunt & Harper, 2002). Michael Porter’s (2001) claim that “Internet technology provides better opportunities for companies to establish distinctive strategic positioning than did previous generations of information technology” (p.65) supports the high confidence shown in e-business by government bodies and many business analysts (D. Anderson, 2000; NOIE, 2000; OIE, 2004a). Two major benefits of e-business adoption commonly identified are reduced costs and increased demand through increased services and new markets (Allen Consulting Group, 2002; OECD, 2002). These benefits directly flow from the Internet’s intrinsic characteristics of providing low-cost and high-speed global communication, effectively reducing the limiting impact of geographic position and extending presence in the marketplace to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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