To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Innovating with government digital platforms in low-income countries: the dynamic capabilities of Woredas in Ethiopia

Debas Senshaw (Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia)
Hossana Twinomurinzi (Department of Applied Information Systems, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management

ISSN: 2053-4620

Article publication date: 28 May 2021

177

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify the dynamic capabilities of government organisations in Woredas of Ethiopia that digitally innovate on the existing government digital platform, the WoredaNet.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a qualitative interpretive case study strategy using three government administrative regions in Ethiopia (called Woredas), which digitally innovate using the government digital platform, the WoredaNet. A structured interview protocol was implemented for data collection. In total, 5 respondents representing users, information and communication technology (ICT) staff and management were selected from each of the Woredas (districts), yielding a total of 15 respondents.

Findings

Drawing from the dynamic capabilities literature, the findings reveal that the digital platform governance model plays the strongest role in digital government innovation. Specifically, the Woredas exhibit highly developed adaptive capabilities through learning from the affordances offered by the digital platform. Also, despite the collaborative nature of their absorptive capabilities, there are no clear organisational structures to manifest these capabilities (integrating new learnings). The innovative capabilities (creating digital government products or service innovations) are constrained by the governance model, which is centralised in one ICT unit.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited to one of the Regional States of Ethiopia. Further studies would be needed to consider other regional states and more Woredas.

Practical implications

The research provides a means through which dynamic capabilities can improve digital innovation on government digital platforms, despite the scarcity of resources, especially in low-income countries.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to digital government and dynamic capability literature in revealing how digital innovations in government agencies might be organisationally enhanced through distributed digital platform governance models.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding. No funding was provided for the research.

Citation

Senshaw, D. and Twinomurinzi, H. (2021), "Innovating with government digital platforms in low-income countries: the dynamic capabilities of Woredas in Ethiopia", Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTPM-05-2020-0081

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles