Stages of E-Government Maturity Models: Emergence of E-Governance at the Grass Roots

Stages of E-Government Maturity Models: Emergence of E-Governance at the Grass Roots

Hakikur Rahman (BRAC University, Bangladesh) and Isabel Ramos (University of Minho, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4900-2.ch012
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Abstract

E-Government and e-Governance are the two terms within the governance system that need to be attended through clarity, distinctness, and justification. No matter how the stages of the governance system evolve, where they have been applied, and in which stages they are at a present moment, these two prominently distinct elements of the governance systems are yet to be watched closely and minutely. After synthesizing existing e-Government maturity models and exploring relevant literature, this chapter proposes a new model that may guide e-Government implementation in a developing world context. It is expected that the proposed model would assist researchers, academics, and policy makers in establishing sustained e-Government model in emerging and developing economies.
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Introduction

E-Government is now widely regarded as an essential element of the governance system to reform, modernization and improvement of the government (Foley and Ghani, 2005; OECD, 2007). It has been characterized by the utilization of information and communication technologies (ICTs), and particularly the Internet, as a tool to achieve better government (OECD, 2003). However, the real costs of and benefits of e-Government have rarely been thoroughly and systematically evaluated. One may notice that during the ‘dot.com’ boom, e-Government has enjoyed a healthy level of political and financial support across the world, and ICTs and e-Government were largely seen as key tools for modernizing public administrations and providing better government. It has been observed that, in many countries, despite many years of initiatives and efforts, the stage of maturity in e-Government is likely to require further investment in terms of the development of services and systems whose benefits often seem less readily apparent to politicians and policy makers, and to the public. This means that vigorous evaluation and monitoring of the costs and benefits of e-Government needs to be incorporated into e-Government planning and investment. This is commonly referred to be the need of the moment for the deployment of the e-Government, and must be supported by a strong business case in terms of availing financial aspects and sustainability. Without this, e-Government implementers find it increasingly difficult to obtain support for making the investments required to enable them to achieve the objectives that governments set for them. This chapter looks at some aspects of maturity in e-Government models across the world following an exploratory review (OECD, 2007)

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) serve as a mean to connect within and across government, businesses, communities, and individuals; to handle complex business processes; and facilitate effective communication, interaction and innovation, for improving efficiency, transparency, responsiveness, competitiveness, and empowerment. Because of these benefits, ICTs have been applied to and integrated with a wide range of human development activities (ADB, 2009). However, studies indicate that countries vary enormously in their overall e-Government performance across the regions. West (2008) observes that, in terms of technology utilization, the United States has fallen behind countries, such as South Korea and Taiwan. In their study, they find that the most highly ranked e-Government nations are South Korea, Taiwan, the United States, Singapore, Canada, Australia, Germany, Ireland, Dominica, Brazil and Malaysia, while countries such as Tuvalu, Mauritania, Guinea, Congo, Comoros, Macedonia, Kiribati, Samoa and Tanzania barely have a web presence.

E-Government is meant to serve various customers, each with differing service needs. In the early days of inception of the e-Government, an international information technology consulting firm, Gartner, Inc., presented its concept of e-Government at a conference sponsored by the State of Wisconsin for state and local government officials in June 2001. This firm presented the development and use of e-Government in four phases, such as developing an Internet presence; providing interaction between local government and the public by e-mail and information; allowing individuals to conduct business with the local government; and re-engineering of a local government’s business practices because of increased use and functions of e-Government (Thieme, 2001). Evidently, this concept has become a benchmark of e-Government initialization in many countries.

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