Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 2 August 2011


Irani, Z. and Dwivedi, Y. (2011), "Editorial", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 5 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/tg.2011.32605daa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Volume 5, Issue 4

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the fourth issue of the fifth volume of Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy. The research presented in the papers is exploratory in nature and deals with contemporary e-government and t-government themes from a multiplicity of angles, providing a mixture of conjectural and prudent contributions. The continuous update of the journal’s scope to promote theory and practice has led to an increase in quality of submissions focusing on providing a mixture of theoretical and practical contributions. Topics covered within this issue focus on the role of security and trust in the adoption of online tax filing, comprehending the e-petitioners, e-procurement implementation, mapping the evolution of e-readiness assessment and diagnosing the techno-relational action space; finding institutional and individual dimensions for innovation in transformational government.

This issue commences with research presented by Lemuria Carter, Ludwig Christian Shaupp, Jeffrey Hobbs and Ronald Campbell. The purpose of their study is to investigate the influence of six determinants on taxpayers’ intention to adopt e-file systems. The proposed model in this research integrates technology adoption factors from the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) model with personal perceptions on trust, efficacy and security. These are integrated into one parsimonious yet explanatory model of e-file adoption. To validate their work, a survey was administered by the authors to 304 US taxpayers to capture their perceptions of e-filing. The survey was developed using existing scales in the literature. The results were tested using multiple linear regression analysis. From their validation process, the findings illustrate that theoretical constructs from the UTAUT model are well suited in the explanation of multiple e-government services. Specifically, the results indicate that three factors from the UTAUT model (performance expectancy, effort expectancy and social influence) play a significant role in predicting taxpayers’ e-filing intentions. More importantly, the research findings indicate that personal factors (web-specific self-efficacy and perceived security control), along with UTAUT factors, have a significant impact on taxpayers’ e-file intentions. The authors claim to contribute to the literature by integrating determinants from the UTAUT model with personal perception factors to explain e-file adoption. This merging of UTAUT with theories, such as social cognition, that emphasize human perception, is the direction taken by the researchers in an effort to understand taxpayers’ intentions to adopt e-file systems. The model needs to be validated using more diverse research participants that will increase the variation in the data collected. From the perspective of a practical implication, encouraging citizens to adopt government e-services continues to be a major, lingering obstacle in the government’s e-service delivery initiative. This study provides specific insight on the determinants that influence taxpayers’ use of e-file systems. Government agencies should include these determinants in their future development and enhancement of e-file systems as it strives to increase taxpayer use of e-file systems. The authors assert that this study presents a parsimonious, yet integrated, model of e-file diffusion. The integration of adoption factors with personal perceptions of trust, efficacy and security represents a significant step forward in explaining e-file adoption.

Peter Cruickshank and Colin Smith focus on understanding e-petitioner. This conceptual study considers the ways in which large-scale e-participation projects can be evaluated. It argues that existing evaluation approaches can be improved by taking a closer look at the characteristics of the users of such systems, by estimating their self-efficacy. The literature review is followed by the development of relevant research questions, and an assessment of points at which relevant and useful data can be collected in a petitioning process. From their findings, data relating to self-efficacy, while not simple to collect, can add much to the evaluation process, and have the potential to result in more effective projects and systems. With regard to their research limitation, the authors argue that their findings are specific to one project (and not generalisable), EuroPetition, which will allow the co-ordination and submission of cross-border pan-European petitions. From a novelty perspective, this article represents the first attempt to integrate perspectives derived from social cognitive theory to the evaluation of a large e-participation project. Self-efficacy is discussed in terms of both computer self-efficacy and political self-efficacy.

The aforesaid research is then followed by work presented on e-procurement implementation by Aini Aman and Hasmiah Kasimin. This research aims to understand the challenges of e-procurement implementation in government and efforts taken to overcome the challenges using a case of the Malaysian Government. The authors adopted a qualitative case study approach of e-procurement project, which is one of Malaysian e-government initiatives. Data were collected using a triangulation approach that involved semi-structured interviews, document reviews and observation. In terms of findings, their theoretical framework was further developed during data analysis. The findings show that challenges in the e-procurement implementation in government are not only related to software integration, data management and roll-out strategy but also legal and administration procedures, IT infrastructure, outsourcing contract and IT skills. Findings show the importance of creating IT facilities centre in rural areas and working closely with third-party vendor for user’s training and skills development. This paper highlights the needs to understand challenges and limitations faced by a developing country such as Malaysia in implementing e-government project. This paper provides a basis for further thought and analysis on important issues such as the lack of IT infrastructure and skills, as well as high dependency on third-party developers that need to be overcome in order to gain the impact of e-procurement system. This paper has explored implementation issues of e-procurement in the government sector particularly in developing country, hence provides guidelines for future implementation strategies for system developers, government officials and ministries. The authors claim that only limited studies examine the implementation issues of e-procurement in the government sector, especially in developing countries. While current studies focus more on the readiness of implementing e-procurement, this study posits to understand the challenges faced by developing country in e-procurement implementation.

Thereafter, a case study based on research by Devendra Dilip Potnis and Theresa A. Pardo is presented. The authors present a mapping of the evolution of the United Nation’s (UN’s) e-readiness assessments. The mapping highlights underlying assumptions and frames a set of recommendations for new secondary indicators to strengthen e-readiness indices. This exploratory case study applies triangulated document review for the analysis. The UN’s e-readiness assessments have evolved from a focus on Member State governments as “controllers of information and services” to “facilitators of information”. The mapping highlights the dynamic nature of understanding of e-government and the role of ICTs in transformation efforts. It also allows for a new understanding of the influence of context-dependent imperatives, rankings, views and suggestions on Member State efforts to leverage technology towards the realization of transformation agendas. Framing assumptions for issue-based UN surveys pose a series of limitations in terms of interpreting the results. The case study highlights the evolutionary character of the e-readiness assessment efforts and provides new insight for governments that rely on the assessments for decision making and planning. The UN e-readiness assessments serve as a widely used point-of-reference for government officials, public administrators and researchers around the world. This study provides them with new understanding of the evolution of perspectives which frame the tools used to assess e-readiness. The authors assert to provide an original examination of the evolution of perspectives and tools used in UN’s e-readiness assessment efforts. This examination supports the identification of a set of secondary indicators in the form of a risk-to-reward indicator, an adoption indicator and a satisfaction indicator to better inform and strengthen the UN e-readiness indices.

Finally, Katarina Lindblad-Gidlund and Katarina Giritli Nygren explore techno-relational action space: finding institutional and individual dimensions for innovation in transformational government. The purpose of this case study-based research is to contribute to the discussion on IT-related public sector transformation by reintroducing the question of employees’ organisational power and position in technological and technocratic systems. To examine how formal organisational positions, together with the way in which employees position themselves in relation to technology, affect how employees interpret their accessible action space (position and action strategy) a survey in a local municipality were conducted. As indicated by their proposition, the empirical results verify that the techno-relational action space is two-dimensional, consisting of both a formal position (how the organisational members are positioned) and a certain amount of action space outside a formal position (i.e. how they are position themselves). Elaborating on these dimensions generates rewarding insights into a micro-change perspective where technology-related innovation processes are concerned. This research combines analysis of how the organisational members position themselves in relation to technology with how they are positioned organisationally in relation to technology and structures of power. Instead, the authors claim that the techno-relational space is both a matter of how the organisational members position themselves in relation to technology and a matter of how they are positioned organisationally in relation to technology and structures of power. Identifying and acknowledging employees perceived techno-relational action space is of great importance in understanding organisational members’ participation, cooperation and innovative capability in government transformation.

We hope you will find this issue interesting and thought provoking, and hope to receive your valuable contributions for the forthcoming issue.

Zahir Irani, Yogesh Dwivedi