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Citizens' attitudes towards e‐government and e‐governance: a UK study

Ailsa Kolsaker (School of Management, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)
Liz Lee‐Kelley (School of Management, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 3 October 2008




The purpose of this paper is to further understanding of citizens' attitudes towards electronic government (e‐government) and e‐governance.


A quantitative study was conducted of 3,000 citizens of a relatively prosperous town in South‐East England. A 10 per cent response rate provided 302 completed questionnaires; 216 users of e‐government portals and 86 non‐users.


Findings indicate that whilst interest in e‐government is generally low overall, users appreciate personalisation, user‐friendliness and the ability to communicate. Users and non‐users perceive moderate value in e‐government for knowledge acquisition and communication, but little as a vehicle of democratic engagement. Those using e‐government frequently are more positive than other groups.

Research limitations/implications

The relatively low‐response rate (though not unusual for quantitative methods) suggests a general lack of interest; however users of e‐government are appreciative of a few, key benefits. In relation to enhancing participation, the findings suggest that Government ambitions far outstrip those of its citizens. To improve usage, the authors propose that non‐users need to be tempted online in a secure environment, that users should be provided with personalised pages in line with their expectations, that elected members should be encouraged to view with web as a means of reaching out to voters and that citizens should be educated in exploiting the potentially valuable online tools to enhance participation. The study is limited by the exclusive use of quantitative methods; the outcomes suggest that further, qualitative, research could be valuable in exploring user needs, motivations, competence, and level of political engagement.


The paper adds insight into citizens' attitudes towards e‐government and e‐governance.



Kolsaker, A. and Lee‐Kelley, L. (2008), "Citizens' attitudes towards e‐government and e‐governance: a UK study", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 21 No. 7, pp. 723-738.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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