The Electronic Journal of e-Government publishes perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of e-Government

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Journal Article

Oxygen Government Practices  pp177-190

Mary Griffiths

© Jan 2008 Volume 5 Issue 2, ECEG 2007, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp95 - 224

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Abstract

How well are government intranets modelling the participatory protocols needed to develop the skills for effective government‑citizen engagement? Does the inclusion of social media forms and user‑generated content (chat, collaboration work, content sharing) add or detract value from the interactive online space at work? This paper presents work on a small Australian case study drawn from a comparative study of e‑participation projects within government in Australia and New Zealand. This paper focuses on the development of, and everyday practices in, a password‑only, subscription‑based intranet Oxygen, which has been operating since December 2006 in the South Australian public service. Specially developed through funding gained in an internally‑competitive round, Oxygen is designed by, and for, a specific demographic of young media‑savvy professionals. The research includes initial interviews with managers, intranet peer‑managers, online observation of the 'virtual village' conducted at periods throughout 2007, data collected from Oxygen's external site‑builders, and an analysis of logins and page hits. A user‑questionnaire was emailed to selfselecting Oxygen subscribers. In its use of dedicated pages and protocols for social networking, the government intranet demonstrates that, in targeted demographics, the peer‑management of online space can further develop existing professional behaviours, and encourage new collaborative ones which have the potential to be transformative of peer and manager attitudes to leadership, cooperation and the reinvention of organisational behaviour within the service. The research also assesses the popular features of the intranet's design, and the most successful peer‑practices, in order to gauge their potential transferability to e‑participation protocols and projects in interactive citizen‑government domains.

 

Keywords: peer-managed intranets, e-participation, UGC, transferability, civic domains, online protocols, virtual village

 

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Journal Article

Singing from the Same Hymnsheet? The Impact of Internal Stakeholders on the Development of e‑Democracy  pp155-162

Ailsa Kolsaker, Liz Lee-Kelley

© Apr 2009 Volume 7 Issue 2, ECEG 2007, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp123 - 208

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Abstract

Early interest in e‑government focused on technological convergence, system interoperability and data sharing. After a slow start, there are signs that provision is improving; 2006 figures show that across Europe 67.8% of basic G2B services and 36.8% of basic G2C public services are fully developed. As provision has improved, e‑government ontologies have broadened, moving beyond information provision and service delivery to embrace facets of governance such as transparency, dialogue, shared decision‑making, collaborative policy‑ formulation and partnership. Active citizenship has long been recognised as a key component of a healthy, functioning democracy and the both the European Commission and individual European nations are keen to exploit the networking opportunities presented by the Web to engage more closely with their citizens. Despite somewhat lofty ambitions, the European Commission itself has recently acknowledged that the Web is not yet operating as an effective facilitator of democratic inputs into policymaking, let alone the more ambitious mandates. The empirical research reported in this paper explores the reasons why. Our paper presents the findings of a study of the extent to which internal stakeholders of a local government authority (Borough Council) in the UK share a sense of purpose in developing an e‑government portal as a vehicle for e‑democracy. It addresses whether lack of progress is related to a mismatch between theorised and actual stakeholder motivations, preferences and behaviours. As well as the officials tasked to bring to fruition the concept of online services and e‑democracy, politicians have a key role to play in promoting e‑government development. Accordingly, two main groups of stakeholders are in focus; elected Councillors and Borough Council employees (or 'officers'). It explores whether the political decision makers and those responsible for online delivery share a common sense of purpose and understanding of the potential value of Web‑enabled participation both for the local authority and citizens. Finally, it evaluates whether a lack of shared vision may be hindering progress towards e‑democracy. The findings expose a number of pertinent and long‑standing issues and challenges. In general there is a lack of shared purpose and motivation and a view that the added value of Web‑enabled participation may be theoretical rather than real. As such, the study is of interest not only to academic colleagues, but also to policy‑makers and local authorities tasked with delivering public services online and engaging citizens more extensively in the processes of democracy.

 

Keywords: e-democracy, e-participation, engagement, UK, local e-government, internal stakeholders

 

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Journal Article

Competent Electronic Participation Channels in Electronic Democracy  pp195-208

Dimitrios Zissis, Dimitrios Lekkas, Anastasia-Evangelia Papadopoulou

© Apr 2009 Volume 7 Issue 2, ECEG 2007, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp123 - 208

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Abstract

Electronic Democracy is appearing in political agendas across countries and boarders. This paper refers to electronic participation channels implemented to digitalize decision processes in an electronic democracy. Electronic participation includes the sub processes of information acquisition and formation of an opinion. The function of efficient electronic participation in electronic democracy is crucial and indispensable. Electronic Democracy provides citizens with the opportunity to engage efficiently in democratic processes. Current technology can be perceived as an evolution of traditional communication linkages between political representatives and citizens. These can provide an "extensive library" of information and a "meeting point" for political debate. A surplus of existing technologies provides the means to enhance the unidirectional and bidirectional communication paths between citizens and involved political entities. Such a technological deployment though must meet a number of requirements ranging from usability issues to electronic security. An in depth analysis and review of social and technical requirements of such channels is provided in this paper. Solutions are presented which meet previously identified needs and through their comparison the fulfilment of the requirements will be met. This papers objective is to identify the custom design for efficient and competent electronic participation channels in electronic democracy. This goal will be achieved through a comparison of the current technological tools used in e‑participation, called e‑methods. For each one of these e‑methods a SWOT analysis will be provided, listing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, that this particular tool may have. Eventually a comparison is made after the establishment of criteria regarding many aspects such as: security, privacy, accessibility, user's or developer's viewpoints. Proficiently deployed technological infrastructures which enhance the bidirectional communication pathways will lead to engaged and better informed citizens, and evidently to a stronger democracy. Findings of this paper should be considered by parties interested in deploying electronic democracy infrastructures and fellow researchers in the field.

 

Keywords: e-democracy, e-voting, e-participation, e-methods comparison

 

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Journal Article

E‑government and Technological Utopianism: Exploring Zambia’s Challenges and Opportunities  pp16-30

Kelvin Joseph Bwalya, Saul Floyd Zulu, Balulwami Grand, Peter M. Sebina

© Oct 2012 Volume 10 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 94

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Abstract

This article presents an empirical study that was conducted in three towns (Lusaka, Livingstone and Kitwe) in Zambia to ascertain the awareness of citizens about the anticipated value that e‑government adds to public service provision. Awareness entails that citizens are able to identify the opportunities that e‑government has to offer in the delivery of public services. Using a Mixed Methods Research (MMR) approach, the study measured the perception of citizens on the overall e‑government agenda. Spearman’s rho was used to determine concurrent and construct validity of the data collection instruments. Restricted factor analysis with Kaiser Normalization identified eight predictor factors explaining 23 percent of the variance in the model indicating acceptance and/or awareness of e‑government applications. The results of the research indicate that with the likelihood of a majority of citizens aware of and utilising e‑government once it is globally rolled out, there are chances that e‑government may positively impact on the bureaucratic nature of government and ultimately improve public service delivery in Zambia. Further, this research suggests there are encouraging indications for effective development of e‑government in Zambia. The limitation of the study is that the sampled population may not be statistically representative of the general population in Zambia and therefore it is not possible to generalise the outcomes of this research.

 

Keywords: e-government, Zambia, service efficiency, corruption, technology acceptance, e-Participation, e-Inclusiveness

 

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Journal Article

Public Participation and Ethical Issues on E‑governance: A Study Perspective in Nepal  pp80-94

Gajendra Sharma, Xi Bao, Li Peng

© Nov 2014 Volume 12 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 125

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Abstract

Abstract: E‑governance is a way for governments to use the most innovative information and communication technologies (ICTs), to provide public and businesses with convenient access to government information and services, to improve the quality of the s ervices and to provide greater opportunities to participate in government activities. E‑government offers a huge movement to move forward with higher quality, cost‑effective, government services and a better relationship between people and government. Thi s paper investigates how public participant in e‑government can be enhanced in Nepal with ethical implementation of e‑government. A case study from e‑government context in Nepal was taken to study public participation, service delivery, challenges and eth ical issues. A policy network theory was applied on e‑governance policy‑making processes in the perspective of Nepal. The finding of the study was focused on good governance which includes issues of efficiency of service delivery, empowerment of citizens, transparency, and accountability. If applied effectively in developing countries like Nepal, e‑ government strategy can advance productivity in the public sector. The e‑government ethics may cover the rights and duties of bodies involved in the developme nt of information systems for public administration.

 

Keywords: Keywords: E-governance, public participation, e-participation, ethics, public service delivery

 

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Journal Article

From Assumptions to Artifacts: Unfolding e‑participation within Multi‑level Governance  pp116-129

Somya Joshi, Uta Wehn

© Mar 2017 Volume 15 Issue 2, Editor: Carl Erik Moe, pp57 - 154

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Abstract

The role of technological innovation within the context of governance processes is often embraced with rhetorical enthusiasm and seen as a de facto enabler for democratic decision‑making. Underpinning this enthusiasm is the leap of faith made from transparency to trust, from complexity to coherence. The belief that using new tools for e‑participation can generate dramatic transformation in public sector redesign and result in societal benefits is heralded as a shift towards public innovation. It is precisely this belief that we examine in this paper. We start our investigation by providing a conceptualization of what e‑participation means within the context of multi‑level governance. By using a cross case comparison of two European research projects, we provide an empirical base upon which we can examine the process of e‑participation and the implications of digital e‑participation tools for various levels of governance and public accountability. Furthermore we provide an interdisciplinary contribution in understanding the gap between what technological innovation makes possible and the acceptance or openness on the part of decision makers to embrace citizen input within policy processes.

 

Keywords: Social Sensors, Open Governance, Crowdsourcing, e-participation, Trust

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 5 Issue 2, ECEG 2007 / Dec 2007  pp95‑224

Editor: Frank Bannister

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Editorial

This issue contains a selection of the best papers from the 2007 European Conference on e‑Government which took place in The Hague . Our host was Den Haagse Hogeschool, which is housed in a building which can best be described as a series of large ellipses piled on top of one another. Finding a given room on a given level involved a decision as to whether to go clockwise or anticlockwise round this structure and there was plenty of empirical evidence of the validity of the *buttered toast law as the later one was for a presentation, the more likely one seemed to be to go the longer way around.

As usual with this issue, there are a large number of articles and they come from many countries. A number of contributors consider various aspects of government portals and on‑line services. Aykut Arslan looks at the impact of ICT on local government in Turkey , concluding that although progress has been made, there is much to be done, especially in moving beyond efficiency to broader goals of inclusion and democracy. On the other side of the continent, Karin Furuli and Sigrun Kongsrud compare and contrast government portals in Demark and Norway . The framework that they develop for doing this may be of interest to other researchers and has wide potential application. In their article, Ralph Feenstra, Marijn Janssen and René Wagenaar (who sadly died in 2007), examine the question of composition methods for web based government services where there are multiple actors. Composition is the process of combining several services (usually from different suppliers) necessary for the completion of a single task and evaluating methods of doing this is non trivial. Regina Connolly's article focuses on the factors that influence the take up and effectiveness of Ireland 's Revenue Online Service tax payment system and provides several useful insights that could be applied elsewhere. Alea Fairchild and Bruno de Vuyst consider another aspect of government service, the Belgian Government Interoperability Framework (BELGIF) and look at the problems of interoperability in a country with its own particular administrative and political complexities.

Document management is a topic that to date has received little attention in the e‑government literature. Two papers here contribute to making up for this deficiency. For anybody who would like a primer as well as an interesting model, the article by Raphael Kunis, Gudula Rünger and Michael Schwind is an informative read. Mitja Decman also considers the matter of government documents, this time from the perspective of archiving and long term storage. As well as being another good overview of the issues involved, the case for having confidence in such forms of storage is well argued.

The conference has always attracted a number of contributions on electronic voting and e‑democracy In their article, Orhan and Deniz Cetinkaya give a sweeping overview of e‑voting, arguing that there is sometimes a lack of clarity in terminology and suggesting that appropriate levels of verification and validation should be applied to e‑voting in different situations. Mark Liptrott's article on e‑voting presents a rather different perspective, examining the successes and failures of the 2003 e‑voting experiment in the UK . His conclusion is that government will need to be proactive and learn the lessons of Roger's diffusion theory if it is going to get widespread public acceptance of this technology. In a different part of the e‑democracy forest, Jenny Backhouse arrives as a somewhat similar conclusion, that engagement with e‑democracy in Australia seeks unlikely to break out spontaneously with given models. Using analogies from e‑business, she concludes, however, that e‑democracy is here to stay whether we like it or not!

Finally, two papers with broader themes. Albert Meijer opens his article with the provocative question; “Are all countries heading for similar political systems in the information age?” He then looks at this question using empirical research in the USA and The Netherlands which suggests that convergence is not happening in quite the way some expect. Mary Griffiths looks at something quite different, the South Australian Oxygen programme (designed to connect the X and Y generations) which seeks to equip young people for civil engagement via electronic media. The results of this experiment are refreshingly positive and again, as in other articles in this issue, there are lessons for a wider world.

 

Keywords: archiving, Australia, Borger.dk, citizen portal, collaboration, diffusion, digital archive, digital preservation, document management systems, document processing, e-administration, e-business model, e-democracy, e-government security, electronic data, electronic record management, e-municipality, e-participation, e-Turkey, evaluation, e-voting, hierarchical government processes, institutional differences, interoperability, multi-actor networks, Mypage, online public services, outsourcing, peer-managed intranets, pilot scheme, political accountability, Protocols, public policy process, public value, quality of service, record keeping, SERVQUAL, social value, standards, taxation, Transferability, trust, Turkish e-governments, Turkish local governments, UGC, validation, verification, virtual village, web service composition

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 2, ECEG 2007 / Apr 2009  pp123‑208

Editor: Frank Bannister

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Editorial

At the time of writing this editorial, I have just returned from the ICEGOV conference on e‑government and e‑governance in Ankara. In addition to excellent Turkish hospitality, the conference threw up a couple of lively debates in the parallel sessions. A good, well behaved academic argument can be one of the most productive and rewarding parts of a conference. Unfortunately good debates tend to be relatively rare as Session Chairs, armed with a “time up” card and a severe set of instructions from the organisers give each presenter their statutory 20 minutes plus five for questions before it is time for “next please”. Occasionally a discussion will continue during coffee or lunch, but sometimes debates only occur because the next speaker doesn’t turn up.

In Ankara, one of these debates was about what was meant by “e‑governance”? During the discussion, it quickly became clear that not only was there no agreement in the room on what the term meant, but also that some of those present were even unclear in their own minds what the difference was between e‑ government and e‑governance. The sight of academics disagreeing about anything and everything, including semantics, is as old as the first university seminar, but semantics matter in academia and the absence of clarity on what is meant by e‑governance was somewhat disconcerting. Rightly or wrongly, I got the feeling that many in the room had not actually given the matter much thought.

This lack of clarity is not an unknown phenomenon. Information systems have an unhappy history of relabelling basic concepts even though, in many cases, nothing fundamental in the technology has changed. Sometimes terms outlive their usefulness and have to be replaced and/or upgraded. On other occasions it seems more like an attempt to resuscitate a floundering field. Recently, even the term “e‑ government” has been under attack. At a meeting I attended last December, one of those present even suggested, I think only partially in jest, that we needed an exit strategy for e‑government. Various replacements are mooted including “transformational government”, “digital government” (popular in the US), “government 2.0” and, more recently, e‑governance. The latter is an unfortunate suggestion, because government and governance have quite different meanings. Furthermore, governance is a notoriously contentious, not to say downright slippery, subject even before putting “e‑“ in front of it.

Not surprisingly, a number of scholars have addressed the difference between e‑governance and e‑ government (including in this journal). While this is of some help, there are just too many interpretations of the expression. Definitions of e‑governance range from an information age model of governance to a “commitment” to use ICT to, inter alia, enhance human dignity and deliver economic development. Other authors more or less equate e‑governance with e‑democracy (in one article published in a leading journal a few years ago, the word “e‑governance” appears in the title and nowhere else in the text!). All this does not help when attending a conference presentation with “e‑governance” in the title although it may give a frisson of excitement as we await the definition that the presenter has in mind.

In a simple search on the web, it is possible to find quite a large number of scholarly papers on e‑ governance. Google throws up over four and half thousand of them. Prior to writing this, I scanned about a dozen of these. While a few differentiated between e‑government and e‑governance, none of them gave a satisfactory account of the material difference between e‑governance and plain old non “e‑“ governance. Such an article may be out there, but I suspect that there is a gap in the market for a really good paper on this topic.

Whatever the definition(s), it behoves academics and scholars to be clear in what they say. Muddling up two quite different concepts is not good scholarship. There is also a need to put some clear blue water between e‑governance and governance generally. ICT certainly enables us to do many things that were heretofore impractical thus reifying hitherto theoretical or abstract problems. Whether it creates new problems is not so obvious. There is plenty of scope for some further contributions to this debate.

 

Keywords: business process improvement, business process reengineering, case study, digital democracy, digital services, e-business, e-commerce, e-democracy, e-governance, e-government services, electronic tax filing, engagement, enterprise information architecture, e-participation, e-procurement, e-revenue, e-tax, e-transactions, e-transparency, e-trust, information technology, internal stakeholders, international tax strategy, Japan, local e-government, National Tax Agency, organizational (re-)design, permanent establishment (PE), public service reform, Romanian e-government, socio-technical systems design, systems architecture, telehealthcare, transfer pricing, transformational impact of e-government

 

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