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Does e-government help shape citizens' engagement during the COVID-19 crisis? A study of mediational effects of how citizens perceive the government

Tunde Simeon Amosun (Department of Sci-Tech Communication and Policy, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)
Jianxun Chu (Department of Sci-Tech Communication and Policy, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)
Olayemi Hafeez Rufai (Department of Sci-Tech Communication and Policy, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)
Sayibu Muhideen (Department of Sci-Tech Communication and Policy, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)
Riffat Shahani (Department of Sci-Tech Communication and Policy, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)
Miapeh Kous Gonlepa (Department of Public Administration, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 2 November 2021

Issue publication date: 16 August 2022

896

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of e-government usage on citizen engagement during the COVID-19 crisis in China, in relation to the mediating role of how citizens perceive the government. A model was also proposed to explain the relationship between e-government usage during the COVID-19 crisis and the mediating role that different perceptions of government play in influencing citizens level of engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

The research model was tested empirically through a survey conducted online with 866 research participants, comprising of Chinese citizens from three large cities, which include Hefei, Shanghai and Nanjing.

Findings

The results in structural equation modeling showed that e-government usage has a significant positive influence on citizens' perception about trust in government, government transparency and government reputation but not significant influence on citizens' engagements. However, an indirect relationship was found out in the mediation analysis. There was also a significant relationship between the different perceptions of government. Mediation analysis showed that all the different perceptions of government mediate the relationship between e-government usage and citizens' engagements during the COVID-19 crisis. The single mediation pathways were found to be most effective mediators, identifying citizens' perception about trust in government to be the most effective mediator.

Originality/value

This study filled the gap in literature by examining how e-government usage by Chinese citizens during the COVID-19 crisis helped influence their attitude and behavior. Specifically, this study is one of the first to integrate citizens' usage of e-government and citizens' engagement through the different citizens' perceptions of government such as trust in government, transparency of government and government reputation in a non-liberal country.

Keywords

Citation

Amosun, T.S., Chu, J., Rufai, O.H., Muhideen, S., Shahani, R. and Gonlepa, M.K. (2022), "Does e-government help shape citizens' engagement during the COVID-19 crisis? A study of mediational effects of how citizens perceive the government", Online Information Review, Vol. 46 No. 5, pp. 846-866. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-10-2020-0478

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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