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

e‑Government: Five Key Challenges for Management  pp1-8

Kim Viborg Andersen

© Dec 2006 Volume 4 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 48

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Abstract

e‑Government holds the potential to facilitate the complementary use of information systems in government comprising both operational and strategic use. This paper argues that if this metamorphosis is to occur, managers are facing five key strategic challenges: 1) Assessing the demand paradox of e‑government. 2) Ensuring that gate‑keeping mechanisms of the street‑level bureaucrats are not eroding the dynamics of e‑government. 3) Use of IT to decrease the high labour intensity in public service provision. 4) Revisiting the employees' readiness for e‑government. 5) Building competences within government to ensure dynamic use of IT.

 

Keywords: e-government, strategy, management, demand, entities, gate-keeping mechanisms, labour intensity, readiness, competence

 

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Journal Article

The Effectiveness of e‑Service in Local Government: A Case Study  pp157-166

Mehdi Asgarkhani

© Feb 2006 Volume 3 Issue 4, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp157 - 240

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Abstract

e‑Technology has become a catalyst for enabling more effective government through better access to services and the democratic process. As public interest in the Internet and e‑Technology solutions continues to grow, there is an increasing expectation that they will be utilised in national and local governments for not only more efficient governance but also improving public access to information and services. This paper, based on a case study discusses some of the key aspects of electronic government and e‑Service. It examines the value and the effectiveness of e‑Services within the public sector with a focus on four specific facets of effectiveness: the view of management and ICT strategists; social, cultural and ethical implications; the implications of lack of access to ICT; and the customers'citizens' view of the usefulness and success of e‑Service initiatives.

 

Keywords: e-Technologies, e-Service, e-Government, e-Readiness, Local Government

 

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Journal Article

Assessing e‑Readiness in the Arab Countries: Perceptions Towards ICT Environment in Public Organisations in the State of Kuwait  pp77-87

Abdel Nasser H. Zaied, Faraj A. Khairalla, Wael Al-Rashed

© Aug 2007 Volume 5 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 95

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Abstract

In the information age, the gap between the developed and developing countries increased due to the ease of access to new technologies and the usage of information and communications technology (ICT). The first step in promoting e‑Government is conducting the e‑Readiness assessment E‑Readiness is defined as the degree to which a community is prepared to participate in the information age (networked world). It is measured by assessing a community's relative advancement in the areas that are most critical for ICT adoption and the most important applications of ICT. E‑Readiness assessment is meant to guide development efforts by providing benchmarks for comparison and gauging progress. It can also be a vital tool for judging the impact of ICT, to replace wild claims and anecdotal evidence about the role of ICT in development with concrete data for comparison. The main purpose of this paper is to explore the e‑Readiness assessment models and to investigate the perceptions towards the IT environment in some public organisations in the State of Kuwait. Three main variables (human skills, infrastructure and connectivity) have been used. These variables were derived using the terms suggested by Harvard CID and APEC models. The results show that less than half (46.57%) of the participants agreed that their organisations have adequate and appropriate connectivity, infrastructure and IT human skills to implement the electronic government systems.

 

Keywords: e-Readiness, Assessment models, e-Government, e- Services

 

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Journal Article

A Suggested Framework for Assessing Electronic Government Readiness in Egypt  pp11-28

Nahed Amin Azab, Sherif Kamel, Georgios Dafoulas

© Jan 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 122

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Abstract

Electronic Government (e‑Government) is becoming a global phenomenon that is increasingly attracting the attention of community citizens including politicians, economists, decision and policy makers amongst others. Once only regarded as a means for modernizing the public sector and increasing government productivity and efficiency, e‑ Government is presently recognized as a driver and a key enabler of citizen‑centric, cooperative, and seamless modern governance implying not only a profound transformation in the way government interacts with the governed but also the reinvention of its internal processes and how organizations carry their business both internally as well as externally while interacting with the other segments of the community. Based on the literature, it is frequently claimed that the availability of an effective e‑Government assessment framework is a necessary condition for advancing e‑Government proper implementation. The objective of this article is to develop an e‑Government appraisal framework encompassing several components such as people, technology, processes, and strategic planning. The article examines the relations and interactions of these components in an emerging e‑Government environment using a case study on an agency affiliated to the government of Egypt as a primary step in the process of testing the framework presented.

 

Keywords: government e-Government e-Government readiness e-readiness internet strategic planning information and communication technology public sector IT transfer developing nations Egypt

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 4 Issue 1 / Nov 2006  pp1‑48

Editor: Frank Bannister

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Editorial

The number of e‑government events in terms of conferences, mini‑tracks, special issues of journals and books continues to grow at a pace which is, on the one hand, enormously encouraging, but on the other vaguely depressing. Encouraging because it is great to see so much interest in the subject and the steady increase in both the variety and quality of research; depressing because it has become well nigh impossible to keep up with everything that it happening. Still, it is probably a good complaint to have. As a journal editor, it is healthy to receive an increasing number of articles arrive in my in‑tray. Whether or not articles are eventually published, there is always something to learn from them.

In this edition we have five articles which illustrate the diversity and richness of electronic government as a field of research. Sell et al’s paper is an examination of the practical outcomes of an initiative in Finland to assist members of the community who might have difficulty accessing the grocery markets in the city of Turku (I have actually had the pleasure of wandering around a grocery market in Turku so this paper had a personal resonance for me). This was, in the authors’ words, a bold initiative and their paper compares what the sponsors of the project expected to happen with what actually occurred.

Dillon et al look at developments on the other side of the globe with a longitudinal study of local e‑government in New Zealand. Their study looks at how the use of web based services evolved over a four year period. Their findings about the development paths followed by the local authorities leads them to suggest that there are still plenty of opportunities for using the web strategically in New Zealand local government and provides a platform for comparative papers from other countries.

e‑Government is a broad church. Government activities can range from managing the nation’s finances to running the national airline. One big area of public sector expenditure is healthcare. The article by Khoumbati and Themistocleous examines the use of Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) in healthcare services. They identify six common factors that are found in a variety of different integration approaches including EAI, EDI, ERP and web services and propose a conceptual model for the adoption of EAI in healthcare service providers. They suggest that there is much scope for further research into this approach to integration.

The article by Andersen is at a more conceptual level than the others in this issue. He asserts that there are five significant challenges facing e‑government today and explores each of these in turn. He tracks the major shifts in the use of IT in government over the past four decades and argues that there are dangers in current approaches such as a focus on defining boundaries rather than defining services. The author examines the problem of confronting the ‘demand paradox’ and explores some interesting byways, such as the use of IT to avoid work! All in all, this is a thought provoking contribution to the field.

Finally, Henriksen’s paper explores the demand for electronic services in Danish local government at the level of municipalities. The research approach use, examination of log files is an interesting one and there are several informative analyses including the types of services offered and the ratio of users to potential users of these services – a graph which, at a glance, tell the reader a great deal. Like Dillon et al, Henricksen concludes that there is still much to be done in developing the use of IT in local administration.

 

Keywords: electronic journal, papers, articles, eGovernment, electronic government, eGovernment methods, eGovernment studies, e-Government, open care, efficiency, electronic grocery shopping, e-government, strategy, management, demand, entities, gate-keeping, labor intensity, readiness, competence, local government, policy, electronic citizen services, supply and demand, healthcare, adoption, Enterprise Application Integration

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 4 Issue 2 / Dec 2006  pp49‑94

Editor: Frank Bannister

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Editorial

What’s in a name?

One of the fascinating phenomena in marketing is re‑branding. Often the effect of something as simple as a name change can have a significant effect on market perception and sales. Sometime companies spend millions on coming up with a new name complete with corporate logo. Several leading companies have acquire new monikers over the years: Exxon, Diageo and Accenture to name but a few.

The rationale for changing name varies. Sometimes it is necessary to provide a common identity to a conglomerate that has grown by acquisition. Sometime is it because of a split or spin off. Sometimes a company may re‑name itself after a highly successful product or to distance itself after a split off from another organisation.

As in corporate life; so in academic. I was recently listening to a paper at a conference where the speaker opined that e‑government was dead and that we should now be talking about transformative government. My immediate reaction was why stop there? If e‑government is dead, what about digital government (a preferred term with many US academics) or informatization, a term with a much longer pedigree than e‑government or how about sounding the death knell for i‑government or virtual government or technology enabled government? The expression ‘transformative government’ is a good example of what might be called verbal inflation, i.e. the propensity to think of ever more grandiose words to describe the same thing. All e‑government is, at some level, transformative but there is little evidence so far that the use of ICT in government, which recall now goes back nearly 50 years, is actually seriously transforming the processes of governance itself except at the margins. To apply the word ‘transformative’ to what is going on in e‑government at the moment is to overstate, by a large margin, what is actually happening. It may well be that the incremental impact of e‑government will be seriously transformative or that some major change will suddenly occur, but let’s keep our heads. So far there is little to suggest that government structure, bureaucracies, balances of power or decision making is significantly affected. There are straws in the wind, but no radical changes as yet.

Often, when academics in a field feel that they need to change the name of what they are doing, there are good reasons for this. Unfortunately, there are also times when a change of name is little more than fresh coat of paint for old ideas. Knowledge management is one good example of this. We don’t need to do this for e‑government which remains as good a name as any for what is still an expanding and exciting field of research. When we do get genuinely transformative government, which I hope will be soon, maybe we can re‑badge our field. In the meantime, the name of this journal at least will remain unchanged.

 

Keywords: electronic journal, papers, articles, eGovernment, electronic government, eGovernment methods, eGovernment studies, e-Government, open care, efficiency, electronic grocery shopping, e-government, strategy, management, demand, entities, gate-keeping, labor intensity, readiness, competence, local government, policy, electronic citizen services, supply and demand, healthcare, adoption, Enterprise Application Integration

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 5 Issue 1 / Jun 2007  pp1‑95

Editor: Frank Bannister

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Editorial

The level of research activity in e‑government research continues to escalate. Earlier this year I attended part of the East European e‑Government Conference in Prague. June saw the European Conference on e‑Government in The Hague and (at the time of writing) will be followed by e‑Gov in Regensburg in early September and the European Group of Public Administration Conference later in the same month in Madrid: good for the research field, if not for meagre and stressed out academic travel budgets.

While a great deal of research is being produced, and maybe because so much research is being produced, the quality is mixed. Consequently it can take time to find papers of sufficient quality to publish in the journal. I am therefore pleased to have nine good articles, with a truly international mix, for this issue.

In their article Bof and Previtali examine the state of e‑government in the Italian health services. The authors have done some serious groundwork in their research and the picture they come up with is of a sector struggling to get to grips with this technology – particularly in the area of procurement. Their analysis of the reasons underlying these problems is blunt and their prescriptions will be of interest to many organisations.

Carr and Gannon O’Leary examine the UK’s Framework for Multi‑Agency Environment (FAME) research programme. The lessons from this research include the perhaps not surprising one that complex projects take time to implement, but they make the innovative suggestion that one approach to assisting such processes is closer engagement between agencies and universities with expertise in social and information technology sciences.

I first heard Castelnovo and Simonetta’s paper at the ECEG conference in Genoa last year and I recall being quite taken by it at the time. It appears here in a more fully developed form. The article explores the concept of public value, a topic that in my view does not receive anything like enough attention from the research community. Based on their conceptualisation of public service value, they propose a novel approach to the evaluation of e‑government projects. While they do this in the context of small local government projects, many of the ideas here are applicable in a wider arena

Canada is usually held up as one of the paragons of e‑government. In the various international benchmarks, Canada is consistently in the top two or three. In their article, Kumar et al look underneath the hood at what is actually going on in Canadian e‑government, where it seems use of government websites for information is much more important to most citizens than the ability to carry out on‑line transactions. Starting from this, and using an extensive study of the literature, the authors develop and propose a conceptual model of e‑government adoption, somewhat analogous to some of the more developed technology adoption models.

e‑Readiness is a useful concept, but how does one measure it? In their article, Zaied et al address this question in the context of countries in the Arab world. Drawing on an extensive list of scholarly and professional sources, they develop a measurement instrument and then use this to explore the state of readiness in Kuwait using three constructs, human skills, infrastructure and connectivity. Their approach may be of interest to other researchers in developing countries as a way of assessing the state of readiness of their own countries for e‑government.

One of the persistent issues in e‑government is the diversity and duplication of data, just one aspect of the widespread silo phenomenon in public administration. Chiang and Hseih’s article describes the findings of an extended research project into information integration in Taipei County in South Korea. Anybody who has any experience of merging and/or integrating large data set will appreciate both the business and technical challenges that this presents. However once done, the benefits, as the authors show, are considerable ranging from cost reduction to lower administrative workloads and ease of standardisation.

Another aspect of Italian public services, the justice system, is examined by Contini and Cordella, who use it as a case study for an exploration of systems design and development methodologies. Public sector systems in general tend to be complicated, but justice systems are particularly challenging when one moves from basic automation to applying technology to higher level processes such as the creation of new shared working practices. The authors argue that the methodologies used for system development in the past are no longer appropriate for these more complex problems and that what they describe as information infrastructure deployment projects need to be considered as socio‑technical rather than just technical projects.

On more or less the same theme of the complexity of public business processes, Freiheit and Zengl, describe the use of a modelling technique called Event‑driven Process Chains. They argue that traditional business modelling techniques are designed to help the software designer rather than the user (here the citizen) and argue that this and other methods which have been developed in the commercial sector can be usefully applied in the public sector. Having described this concept, they evaluate it using the European Judicial Network as one of a number of case studies. For those familiar with other modelling techniques, this approach has elements which will be familiar, and elements which are new. Even those who are not au fait with modelling techniques should find the ideas in this article interesting.

Finally, in this issue we are introducing a new feature. The journal receives a steady stream of what might be called ‘country’ articles, i.e. articles which outline the current state of e‑government in a particular country or region. One of the problems we sometimes have with these submissions is that, while they are interesting, they are not very academic and consequently, when we apply the normal standards of academic research rigour, they are rejected. However, I often find these papers informative and I think that other readers might too. So we have started a special section with an inaugural paper on e‑government in Nepal by Parajuli. I found this an engaging and different story from what, for most westerners, is still a slightly mysterious and exotic land. I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Keywords: assessment models, business processes, Canada, Cultivation, customer orientation, databases, developing country, digital government, e-Government leaders, e-Justice, e-Procurement, e-Readiness, event-driven process chains, FAME, HCOs, ICT, information infrastructures, information integration, information systems development methodologies, inter-communal cooperation, Nepal, organisational change, organizational requirements, public procurement, public services, public value, small local government organizations, socio-technical practice, user-interface, web site analysis, web site contents

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 1 / Jan 2009  pp1‑122

Editor: Frank Bannister

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Keywords: accessibility, barriers, BRAIN, business process, business rule, capacity for getting ahead, citizen participation, community building, coping and sense making strategies, developing nations, digital divide, disability, disenfranchisement, eDemocracy, e-governance, e-Government adoption, e-government readiness, Egypt, end-user approaches, e-readiness, information and communication technology, information dissemination, internet voting, IT transfer, KedaiKom, Malaysia, municipalities, policy participation, political participation, public participation, public sector, public servants, Section 508, service delivery, social and digital inclusion, social consequences, social participation, strategic planning, Switzerland, technology acceptance model, Telecentres, turnout, websites

 

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