Managing the development of e-ID in a public e-service context

Ulf Melin (Department of Management and Engineering, Information Systems Division, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)
Karin Axelsson (Department of Management and Engineering, Information Systems Division, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)
Fredrik Söderström (Department of Management and Engineering, Information Systems Division, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Publication date: 21 March 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse and understand the contemporary management of electronic identification (e-ID) development to: identify and formulate challenges and reflect upon the use of a combination of perspectives. To generate knowledge on this issue, we investigate e-ID development in Sweden from: an e-government systems development lifecycle perspective and a project challenge and critical success factor (CSF) perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a qualitative case study covering an analysis of the three years in a larger project focusing e-ID in a public e-service setting. Empirical sources have been face-to-face interviews; official documents and different kind of forums for presentations and discussions in, for example, hearings arranged by authorities; meetings with the coordinating agency, and practitioners’ networks events.

Findings

This study concludes that there are significant challenges involved in managing e-ID development because of its contextual and integrated character. Challenges involve the organization and management of the program and can be traced back to e-government, general project management literature and theory on path dependency. Based on this study, we can question, e.g. governance models, centralization and a narrow focus on the technical artefact. Our study is also an illustration of a possible way to analyse e-ID within an e-government initiative.

Research limitations/implications

The present study shows that an e-ID can be considered as a back office-enabler for launching e-services, but also highlights the need for management of the artefact as an integral part of e-service development because it is intertwined with the use of e-services from a user perspective. This aspect together with the insights related to challenges and success factors including path dependency provides implications for future practice of e-ID management and development in particular and information systems artefact development in general.

Originality/value

This paper addresses challenges related to the development of e-ID in a public e-service setting. Few studies have theoretically combined a lifecycle perspective on challenges and success factors related to e-ID development while also focusing different dimensions of path dependency as an example of a challenging area within a program frame. Studying e-ID as a contemporary phenomenon from a contextual perspective in line with sociomaterial thinking – with a focus on the interplay between technology and people –can also help us to understand and discuss artefact development in general.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The study is part of a larger project (Future safe electronic identification) focusing e-ID in a public e-service setting (2011-2014), financed by the Swedish Civil Contingencies in Sweden Agency.

Citation

Melin, U., Axelsson, K. and Söderström, F. (2016), "Managing the development of e-ID in a public e-service context", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 72-98. https://doi.org/10.1108/TG-11-2013-0046

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Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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