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E-government performance in democracies versus autocracies

Mayssa Bougherra (Department of Political Science, College of Economics and Political Science, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman)
Abdul Khalique Shaikh (Department of Information Systems, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman)
Cuneyt Yenigun (Department of Political Science, College of Economics and Political Science, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman)
Houchang Hassan-Yari (Department of Political Science, College of Economics and Political Science, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 21 September 2022

Issue publication date: 24 November 2023




This study aims to examine the relationship between political regimes and e-government performance, with a focus on governments’ perspectives of e-government. First, the authors use United Nations (UN) E-government Development Index (EGDI) to establish the current patterns of e-government performance across different regime types, and then develop their own typology of the various perspectives of different political regime types to e-government adopted in the literature. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between e-government performance and regime types.


This study adopts a mixed-method research approach that involves quantitative (statistical databases) as well as qualitative (interviews) methods to go beyond the statistics and obtain interpretations of explored patterns of e-government performance and regime types. The research instruments for this study include the Jupyter open-source software used for drawing the relevant correlations, and validating the results using expert interviews.


The results of the analysis support the research hypothesis that democracies have better e-government implementation than autocracies. The findings suggest that the type of a political regime has an influence on the conceptualization of e-government, the implementation of its practices and subsequently the assessment of its performance.

Research limitations/implications

This study relies on the UN EGDI and data from previous literature. the UN Index only measures the supply side of government outputs without taking into consideration their impact on citizens, which does not provide a holistic view of the whole picture. Therefore, the UN EGDI rankings do not necessarily imply citizen satisfaction or improved e-government.

Practical implications

From a practice point of view, this study gives information to government leaders as well as technical experts on how the political regime influences the government’s performance in e-government. In fact, this paper bridges the gap between theory and practice by calling policymakers to take different regime worldviews and motivations into consideration before setting e-government strategies or even assessing e-government performance. Considering the current global digital transformation, it should be ensured that practitioners take these regime specifications into consideration. In the long term, the results of this research will prove that setting up e-government or e-participation platforms is not enough as technology alone is not enough to strengthen democracy or let alone stimulate citizen engagement. When dealing with e-government initiatives, the focus should be broadened beyond the technological aspect and take the social and political motivations of governments into consideration.

Social implications

From a theoretical standpoint, this study calls for a more holistic e-government performance indicator that could take the regime perspectives into consideration and integrate them into its evaluation process. An indicator that can accommodate the different objectives pursued by different regime types. This could also be achieved by setting two indicators with each one matching the perspective of the specific regime type, which takes us to Ashby’s “Law of Requisite Variety” (1991). The Law of Requisite Variety states that “the system must possess as much regulatory variety as can be expected from the environment” (Ashby, 1956). This law has some implications for this study. It implies that the regime worldview influences the requisite variety depending on the political context where e-government is being implemented. Because we have two regime worldviews, we need to have at least two responses (in this case indicators) that consider the variety of political contexts. Therefore, through appreciating the differences between these two worldviews, this study recommends using the Law of Requisite Variety to investigate the influence of political regimes on e-government. In the same way, in our repertoire of responses, we should not assume that one discipline has the answer but have a variety of cross-disciplinary responses.


The contribution of this study lies in going beyond the statistical analyses of the UN EGDI to come up with possible interpretations of the reasons why political regimes differ in their e-government performance and what could be the reasons behind such variations. Based on analyzing correlations between e-participation performance and regime types, and interviews with experts, two different e-government perspectives could be identified: one for democracies and one for autocracies. Through identifying the relationship between these perspectives and the e-government performance of each regime type, this study provides governments and policy makers with new evidence that different regime types have different motivations for developing their e-government performance. Hence, e-government policies and strategies ought to match particular political contexts.



Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.


Bougherra, M., Shaikh, A.K., Yenigun, C. and Hassan-Yari, H. (2023), "E-government performance in democracies versus autocracies", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 31 No. 7, pp. 3275-3294.



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