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Indicators and Measures of E-Government

Indicators and Measures of E-Government
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Author(s): Francesco Amoretti (University of Salerno, Italy) and Fortunato Musella (University of Naples Federico II, Italy)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 7
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch303

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Abstract

Although the question of measurement is crucial when defining any concept, little attention has been devoted to a comprehensive view of information and communication technologies (ICTs) applications, spanning qualitative and quantitative assessments. Due to the lack of a clear definition of e-government, many differences can be noted in the way in which digital policies have been interpreted by academics and practitioners. Coined by the U.S. programme for reinventing government under the Clinton administration (National Performance Review), the term e-government refers to a public sector reorganisation which aims at increasing the efficiency of the public administration and reducing its budget through the use of new technologies. In the words of Douglas Holmes (2001), e-government is “the use of information technology, in particular the Internet, to deliver public services in a much more convenient, customer oriented, cost effective and altogether different and better way. It affects an agency’s dealing with citizens, business and other public agencies as well as its internal business processes and employees” (p. 2). Yet many definitions go beyond the role of e-government in improving the provision of public services. Indeed, the label e-government supports other definitions, not necessarily limited to the computerisation of the public administration (Osborne & Gaebler, 1992). The concept of e-government seems to contain both the redesigning of public services system and a wider transformation of the relationship between private and public actors, so that the restructuring of public administration–influenced by the ideal of a new public management–is combined with the renewal of the democratic decision-making process. Digital policies are presumed to be a key element in improving online service quality and other factors, casting a new role for the citizen-costumer. At the same time, although e-government is becoming a catch-all concept, from an analytical point of view, official reports produced by international actors show a significant convergence in the way in which this is evaluated and measured. Diffusion of e-government practices are often closely related, and limited, to features of public administration Web sites, with reference to dimensions of openness and interactivity (La Porte, Demchak, & De Jong, 2002). Other studies focus exclusively on how citizens and businesses perceive the quality of public e-service, with reference to customer satisfaction, benefits conceived in terms of value and utility of services offered and opportunity of use as strategic factors for performance efficacy and efficiency (Graafland-Essers & Ettedgui, 2003; Stowers, 2004). Only recently a new approach has taken shape, which concentrates more attention on socio-political aspects of the intensive use of new technologies.

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