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E‐government and service orientation: gaps between theory and practice

Maria Åkesson (Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)
Per Skålén (Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)
Bo Edvardsson (Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 25 January 2008




The purpose of this paper is to review selected literature on e‐government service orientation and highlight differences between academic theory and empirical findings. To date, there has been little support for predictions made in the e‐government conceptual literature.


The paper is a conceptual framework for a literature review of e‐government and service orientation is presented. A systematic database search is then undertaken to identify the literature related to e‐government and service orientation. Suitable papers are selected, carefully read, and systematically analysed according to the conceptual framework. A discussion and relevant conclusions are then presented.


The paper finds that a gap appears to exist between conceptual literature and empirical findings. For example, conceptual research claims that e‐government will result in a reduction of staff, yet no empirical findings have proven this. The present study applies institutional theory for understanding the fundamental reasons to this gap.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is based on a literature review of 27 articles, three monographs and one edited volume focusing on service orientation and e‐government. It does not attempt to examine the full range of the literature available within the field of e‐government.


This review paper uniquely considers the gaps between the theory and practice of e‐government service orientation, and identifies where they exist. Some possible explanations for the gaps are explored which can be of interest to both academics and practitioners working in the field.



Åkesson, M., Skålén, P. and Edvardsson, B. (2008), "E‐government and service orientation: gaps between theory and practice", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 74-92.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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