E-government: Lu, J. Wang, 2008). Despite, there

E-government: Definitions

The concept of E-government – also known as e-gov, electronic government, Internet governance, digital government, online government etc., initially used to mean using information technology to transmit government services directly to the customer 24/7. (Hernon, 1998) The roots of the e-government can be traced back to early 1990s, where World Wide Web is invented. (G. Hu, W. Pan, M. Lu, J. Wang, 2008).

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Despite, there are significantly more, and different definitions of e-government have been put forward almost during 3 decades by several scholars, institutions or international organizations, however, there is not any universally accepted definition of the e-government concept. (Halchin, 2004).  Its disciplines of interest overlap with several other vigorous fields, including information science, digitization, computer science, management science, software engineering etc. (G. Hu, W. Pan, M. Lu, J. Wang, 2008, p)

Until the introduction of the Internet and widespread use of personal computers, the main objectives of technology use in government were empowering the managerial effectiveness of public administrators while raising the government productivity. Until then, the main use of technology in government organizations was the automation of mass transactions such as financial transactions using mainframe computers (Schelin, 2003).

In order to sufficiently cover the variety of uses and the notions related to the e-government, several definitions are presented below:

Means and Schneider (2000) define e-government as the relationships between governments, their customers and suppliers, such as businesses, other governments, and citizens by using electronic tools. E-government is also defined as using information and communication technologies to improve and/or transform the relationship between the government and its suppliers and customers, by Y. Mete (2002), one of the leading researchers in the field of public administration and e-government in Turkey.

In e-government, the government uses information technology and particularly the Internet to support government operations, engage citizens, and provide government services, where the interaction can be in the form of obtaining information, filings, or making payments and a host of other activities via the World Wide Web (S. Palvia, S. Sharma, 2007)

In their scientific research, G. Hu, W. Pan, M. Lu, and J. Wang (2008) analyzed the previous scientific articles written about the e-government during 10-year time-span (1998-2007), where its definition has been proposed by the several authors from all around the world. Finally, according to their research, they prepared the widely shared definition of the e-government based on the analyzed articles as below:

“The field of e-government deals with the major initiatives of management and delivery of information and public services taken by all levels of governments (including agencies, sectors) on behalf of citizens and business, involving using multi-ways of internet, web site, system integration, and interoperability to enhance the services (information, communication, policy making), quality and security and as a new key (main, important) strategy or approach.”

The definition of e-government concept is also proposed by various influential international organizations, such as OECD, UN, World Bank and etc. The OECD defines e-government as “the use of information and communication technologies, and particularly the Internet, as a tool to achieve better government” (OECD, 2003). Again, e-government is defined by UN as utilizing the Internet and World Wide Web for delivering government information and services to citizens. (UN, 2002)

According to World Bank, “E-government” refers to the use by government agencies of information technologies (such as wide area networks, the internet, and mobile computing) that have the ability to transform relations with citizens, businesses, and other arms of government.

These technologies can serve a variety of different ends: better delivery of government services to citizens, improved interactions with business and industry, citizen empowerment through access to information, or more efficient government management. The resulting benefits can be less corruption, increased transparency, greater convenience, revenue growth, and/or cost reductions. (World Bank, 2015)

In their book of “E-government: Strategy Process Instruments”, B. Wirtz and P. Daiser (2015) define the term e-government as following: it describes the electronic handling of administration and democracy processes in the context of governmental activities by means of information and communication technologies to support public duties efficiently and effectively.

Although they are used as a synonym in several forums, “E-government” and “E-governance” are two diverse concepts that should not be confused. According to A. Imran et al. (2017), E-government is a narrower discipline that deals with the development of ICT-based business processes or online services for government, while E-governance is a broader concept that defines the nature and operation of the government, including relationships between public servants and the wider society. E-government is the means and tools to achieve an outcome as E-governance.

In general, e-government has been employed to mean everything from online government services to exchange of information and services electronically with citizens, businesses, and other branches of government. Traditionally, e-government has been considered as the use of ICTs for improving the efficiency of government agencies and providing government services online. Later, the framework of e-government has broadened to include use of ICT by government for conducting a wide range of interactions with citizens and businesses as well as open government data and use of ICTs to enable innovation in governance.

E-government: Subcategories

E-government concept has three main target group that can be differentiated, such as Government-to-Government, Government-to-Citizens and Government-to-Businesses groups. (Backus M, 2001; Jaeger, 2003). Three additional categories can be added to the list, such as Government-to-Civil Society Organizations and Citizens-to-Citizens (M.Yildiz, 2007) and Government-to-Constituencies (S.Palvia, S.Sharma, 2007). This classification is related to the users of the e-government services. The categories of interactions can be examined as below:

·         Government-to-Government (G2G) – communication between branches and levels of a government as well as between different governments, leading to higher consistency and efficiency.

·         Government-to-Business (G2B) – refers to the sale of government goods and the procurement of goods and services for the government, where both sides profit from reduced costs and could increase efficiency in performing transactions and in procurement processes.

·         Government-to-Citizen (G2C) – offers wide range of information and services, where citizens can be more informed about governmental issues, more aware of public services and participate in the governmental affairs.

·         Government-to-Civil Society Organizations (G2CS) (M. Yildiz, 2007) – specifies the bilateral relationship between government bodies and non-government organizations, where it strengthens the third sector involvement to the public issues and raises the government transparency and accountability.

·         Government-to-Constituencies (E-Democracy) (S. Palvia, S. Sharma, 2007) – refers to online activities of governments, elected representatives, political parties and citizens for democratic processes. This includes e-voting, political or current affairs discussion and online dialogue between representatives and their constituents.  

 

E-government: Maturity Levels

The maturity model of e-government is a set of stages (from basic to advanced ones) that indicates the maturity and the capability of the e-government services. The major advantage of those maturity models is to show a way to evaluate e-government portals. Maturity models can also serve as a guide to help government bodies to strengthen their e-government portal’s quality. (A. Fath-Allah, L. Cheikhi, R. Al-Qutaish, A. Idri, 2014)

There are several diverse e-government maturity models introduced, which have been proposed by more than 25 sources. Table 1 presents the overview of the e-government maturity models in the literature:

 

Table 1: E-government Maturity Models (Source: Based on Fath et al., 2014)

Model

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

Stage 6

Layne and Lee, 2001

Catalogue

Transaction

Vertical Integration

Horizontal Integration

NA

NA

Andersen and Henriksen, 2006

Cultivation

Extension

Maturity

Revolution

NA

NA

United Nations, 2012

Emerging Information Services

Enhanced Information Services

Transactional Services

Connected Services

NA

NA

Alhomod et al, 2012

Presence on the Web

Interaction between citizen and government

Complete transaction on the web

Integration of services

NA

NA

Hiller and Belanger, 2001

Information

Two-way communication

Transaction

Integration

Participation

NA

Almazan and Gil-Garcia, 2008

Presence

Information

Interaction

Transaction

Integration

Political Participation

Cisco, 2008

Information Interaction

Transaction Efficiency

Transformation Citizen-Centric

NA

NA

NA

Gartner, 2000

Web Presence

Interaction

Transaction

Transformation

NA

NA

West, 2004

Bill-board

Partial Service Delivery

Portal

Interactive Democracy

NA

NA

Moon, 2002

Simple Information Dissemination

Two-way Communication

Service and Financial Transactions

Integration

Political Participation

NA

World Bank, 2002

Publish

Interact

Transact

NA

NA

NA

Deloitte and Touche, 2000

Information Publishing

Official Two-way Transaction

Multipurpose portals

Portal Personalization

Clustering of Common Services

Full Integration and Enterprise Transaction

Howard, 2001

Publish

Interact

Transact

NA

NA

NA

Shahkooh et al., 2008

Online presence

Interaction

Transaction

Fully Integrated and Transformed E-government

Digital Democracy

NA

Lee and Kwak, 2012

Initial Conditions

Data Transparency

Open Participation

Open Collaboration

Ubiquitous Engagement

NA

Siau and Long, 2005

Web Presence

Interaction

Transaction

Transformation

E-Democracy

NA

Wescott, 2001

Setting up an e-mail system and internal network

Enabling inter-organizational and public access

Allowing two-way communication

Exchange of value

Digital Democracy

Joint-up Government

Chandler and Emanuel, 2002

Information

Interaction

Transaction

Integration

NA

NA

Kim and Grant, 2010

Web Presence

Interaction

Transaction

Integration

Continuous Improvement

NA

Chen, 2011

Catalogue

Transaction

Vertical Integration

NA

NA

NA

Windley, 2002

Simple Website

Online Government

Integrated Government

Transformed Government

NA

NA

Reddick, 2004

Cataloging

Transaction

NA

NA

NA

NA

Accenture, 2003

Online Presence

Basic Capabilities

Service Availability

Mature Delivery

Service Transformation

NA

Toasaki, 2003

Publish

Interact

Transact

NA

NA

NA

UK National Audit Office, 2002

Basic Site

Electronic Publishing

E-Publishing

Transactional

Joined-up
E-governance

NA

 

While considering that Table 1 indicates major set of e-government maturity models, it can be concluded that there are at least 2 and maximum of 6 development stages in the literature. Despite their differences in terms of the number and names of proposed stages, there are many similarities between these stages, such as presenting government information is commonly perceived as a first step to implement e-government, despite the different names assigned to it (i.e., publish, cataloguing, presence, emerging and information publishing). Another common stage is the one in which all transactions are conducted online. This stage goes by different names such as transact, transactional and transaction.

On the other hand, there are some exceptional difference between proposed models. For instance, Layne and Lee (2001) outlined the developmental stages of e-government as catalogue, transaction, vertical integration, and horizontal integration. According to their framework, integration is divided into vertical and horizontal stages, which is unique naming among listed maturity models. Vertical integration is the integration within the similar functional walls in the

different levels of systems, whereas, horizontal integration refers to the to system integration across different functions in that a transaction in one agency can lead to automatic checks against data in other functional agencies. (M. Alshehri, S. Drew, 2011)

To sum up, it is evident that e-government involves multiple stages of development and is not a one-step process. 

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