Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Publication date: 31 July 2009


Irani, Z. (2009), "Editorial", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 3 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/tg.2009.32603caa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Volume 3, Issue 3

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the third issue of the third volume of Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy. This issue encompasses papers that are exploratory in nature and deal with up-to-date eGovernment issues from a variety of angles, providing a mixture of theoretical and practical contributions.

We start this issue with a viewpoint by Leif Skiftenes Flak, Willy Dertz, Arild Jansen, John Krogstie, Ingrid Spjelkavik and Svein Ølnes that explores the value of eGovernment and explains how it (value) can be realised. This is a thought provoking invited piece that helps explore new perceptions of eGovernment.

Then, Francesco Virili and Maddalena Sorrentino maintain the value theme with a paper titles “Value generation in eGovernment from service-based information technology integration”. In this paper, the authors attempt to understand how value is actually generated in eGovernment projects is one of the most challenging, and relevant issues in eGovernment research. The authors illustrate their approach to electronic government evaluation with an exploratory case study of a service-based information technology (IT) integration project developed by the City of Genoa, showing how and why IT integration can substantially contribute to value generation in the public sector. Contrarily to what one would expect according the original theory of IT conversion effectiveness, value generation may happen even with no substantial growth in the pre-existing IT asset portfolio. In fact, what is truly important is not only the availability of IT assets (policy output) but also their proper use (policy outcome) and their final effects on policy takers (policy impact). The case study shows how a low-cost and small IT integration project based on agile information systems (IS) development practices can significantly leverage the legacy systems, enhancing the overall degree of IT conversion effectiveness (first stage), with expected positive effects on policy outcomes (second stage) and policy impacts (third stage). The enabling effect of the web services technology has a central role in the overall value generation process. The explorative case study is used here only to illustrate this theory-grounded approach. Further empirical research is needed to better develop and prove the validity of the proposed contribution. While addressing a literature void in the context of public sector, this theoretical approach is substantial as it can be used to evaluate and maximize the value generated by eGovernment projects, with a special focus on service-based IT integration projects.

Ulf Melin and Karin Axelsson contribute to a better understanding of the progress and success vs failure in eGovernment development, based on case studies of two inter-organizational e-service projects. A key research issue for the eGovernment field, as well as the IS field in general, is to understand why some projects progress to success while others end in failure. The analysis in the paper is made from: an eGovernment systems development life-cycle perspective and a challenge and success factor perspective. The point of departure is theory and a comparative analysis of two eGovernment projects. The substantive findings in the paper are:

  • A combination of perspectives (in a project stage and analysis grid) that can serve as a support when managing e-service development.

  • A set of identified crucial success factors within an inter-organizational eGovernment project, including project manager skills and position in the agency organization as well as when and how system maintenance issues are introduced into a project.

Existing theory and perspectives are also criticised based on the present study. The revised/developed project stage and analysis grid presented in the paper is one way to deal with the challenges related to the management of e-service development in the public sector.

Simulation information exchanges are then used to investigate the utility of public health web sites by Kholoud Alkayid, Helen Hasan and Joseph A. Meloche. This paper presents research in the area of internet support for professional-public communication through a deeper understanding of the role that a web site can provide in meeting the information needs of critically ill patients in intensive care units (ICU). The communication between clinicians and members of the patient’s family in the stressful ICU is modelled to give an integrated view of the situation and thereby allow for the incorporation of the views of all stakeholders on how the internet can meet this communication need. The authors take a broad, holistic, systemic approach that integrates the latest information and communication technology tools and processes with rich qualitative data from all stakeholder groups. The data are interpreted through the use of system dynamic modelling to visually conceptualise information flows and communication between clinicians and family members of patients. The study conceptualises, visualises and simulates the communication that takes place in complex stressful settings, thereby increasing our understanding of web-support for professional-public communication in the complex area of healthcare. This paper is innovative in the way systems dynamics is used to model information flows. The results demonstrate the value of this technique for visualising and manipulating entire systems of this kind.

The suitability of care pathways for integrating processes and information systems in healthcare is explained by Thomes Crocker, Owen Johnson and Stephen King. In this paper, the author examines the suitability of current care pathway modelling techniques for supporting business improvement and the development of information systems. This is in light of current UK Government policies advocating the use of care pathways as part of the £12.4 billion programme for IT as a key strategy to reducing waiting-times. The author conducted a qualitative analysis, syntax and semantics in a selection of existing care pathways. Care pathways are typically modelled in an ad hoc manner with little reference to formal syntax or semantics. The research reviews a small selection of existing pathways. The results provide insight into the limitations of the state of the art in care pathway models. This highlights a significant omission in the Department of Health’s approach and identifies an important direction for further development that will aid connecting for health, healthcare organisations and healthcare professionals to deliver more effective services.

Finally, we have Muhammad Kamal and Mohamed Alsudairi investigating the importance of factors influencing integration technologies adoption in local government authorities (LGAs). The application of enterprise application integration (EAI) technologies in integrating heterogeneous IS has been pursued by several private and public organisations. However, where EAI has added effectiveness and strengthened the IT infrastructures in the private domain, LGAs have been slow in adopting cost-effective EAI solutions to significantly expand the capabilities of their conventionally inflexible IS. Despite EAI represents an attractive proposition to LGAs and offers the opportunity to leverage the IS into a seamless chain of processes, EAI has not been widely investigated in LGAs. Literature indicates several research studies mainly focusing on a number of different factors (e.g. benefits, barriers) influencing EAI adoption. However, due to plethora of different factors, it may not be sufficient for LGAs to take decisions by merely focusing on factors. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to assess and prioritise the factors influencing EAI adoption in LGAs through the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) technique. According to the empirical findings reported, the proposed EAI adoption factors are appropriate for studying the research context. The analysis and study of the factors was made carefully and specifically to fit and be compatible within the context of an LGA. As a result, it was apparent from the empirical findings that most of the factors have influenced the decision-making process for EAI adoption except two factors that were not tested. The combination of theoretical discussions, analysis of the literature and empirical research presented in this paper illustrates the start of research on EAI adoption in LGAs. However, the theoretical and empirical data collected are confined to the limited context of a single LGA in the UK. The structure of LGAs varies in different parts of the UK. In the light of the reflections and the research limitations of this paper it is recommended that further work could usefully be pursed to validate the factors in the context of other types of LGAs, different cities and countries.

The authors take into consideration the literature void and prioritise the importance the factors by introducing the AHP technique. This technique is substantial as it may enhance the analysis of EAI adoption in LGAs, tests and justifies the feasibility of AHP technique by a case study, and facilitates LGAs in realising the importance of EAI adoption factors. Hence, it significantly contributes to the body of knowledge and practice in this area and providing sufficient support to the management by speeding up the EAI adoption process.

We hope you will find this issue interesting and though provoking, and hope to receive your valuable contributions for the coming issue. We also look forward to seeing you at the European Mediterranean Conference on Information systems where the best papers will be considered to be included in TG:PPPwww.emcis.org

Zahir IraniEditor, and

Yogesh DwivediEditorial Assistant