E-government adoption: review of empirical studies

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This chapter provides the theoretical foundation for the study and a review of the literature on the e-government issues. The literature review is discussed in relation to the objectives of the study, which are : an overview of information needs and information seeking behaviour, the role that access and use of government information may play in the successful e-government adoption process, factors that enhance access and use of e-government information and services, and factors that hinder usage and access of government information and services. In addition, e-government adoption conceptual framework is developed from the theoretical literature, innovation adoption theories and models. Lastly, the chapter analyzes the experiences of other developed countries with e-government.

Significance, characteristics and types of literature review

A literature review is a body of text that aims to review the critical points of current knowledge, including substantive findings as well as theoretical and methodological contributions to a particular topic (Henning, van Rensburg & Smit 2004:27). Fink (2010:3) defines a literature review as a systematic, explicit, and reproducible method for identifying, evaluating, and interpreting an existing body of completed and recorded work produced by researchers, scholars, and practitioners. It provides the reader with a comprehensive overview and helps place that information into perspective (Green, Johnson & Adams 2001:102).
A literature review is significant because it (Johnson & Christensen 2008:65; Welman, Kruger & Mitchel 2005:38-39):

  • helps the researcher to be aware of inconsistencies and gaps that may justify further research;
  • provides the researcher with important facts and background information about the subject under study;
  • enables the researcher to avoid duplicating previous research, and findings and conclusions of past studies;
  • provides motivation;
  • assists a researcher to form research questions; and
  • can assist in the identification of appropriate data-collection instruments.

Cooper (1988:5) developed an instructive framework for reviews that had previously been lacking. This taxonomy addressed six characteristics of reviews:

  • Focus: primary research outcomes, research methods, theories or the application of findings of research.
  • Goals: integration, criticism or the identification of central issues.
  • Perspective: neutral, where the reviewer attempts to present all arguments, espousal where the perspective is a particular argument or issue, paying little attention to other views.
  • Coverage: may range from exhaustive to only a representative cover of the available research.
  • Organisation: how the literature is presented in the review, for example, historically in chronological order, conceptually with literature relating to the same ideas presented together, or methodologically in which literature is grouped according to the methods employed in the primary research.
  • Audience: the differing audiences to whom the reviewer is directing the work.

Various scholars have proposed various ways of discussing literature reviews. Cooper (1984) cited in Kowanko (2000:34) identified three different components and suggested that a comprehensive review will likely address two or more of these areas. The first component is integrative reviews that summarize past primary research, draw overall conclusions, highlight unresolved issues and provide direction for future research. The second is theoretical reviews that present theories to explain phenomena, and compares them in terms of breadth, internal consistency and the nature of their predictions. The third is methodological reviews that examine and critique the research methods and operational definitions that have been applied to a problem, and address rigour and the risk of bias. Green, Johnson and Adams (2001:102) proposed three basic types of literature reviews, which are narrative reviews, qualitative systematic reviews, and quantitative systematic reviews (meta-analyses).
Kaniki (2000: 17) indicated that the literature review can present a historical review, which consider the chronological development of the literature. Another style is to break the literature into stages or phases and thematic reviews structured around different themes or perspectives and often focused on debates between different schools and theoretical reviews that trace the theoretical development in a particular area. The last style is to use empirical reviews, when summerizing the empirical findings on different methodologies.
The present study adopted a combination of the thematic, methodological, theoretical, and empirical approaches to present literature related to the study. In this background, the literature review was presented as follows:

  • Literature review discussed various technology adoption models and information behaviour models as they relate to factors that influence access to electronic government information and e-government adoption in order to build the theoretical foundation of the study;
  • The review of literature was also done to identify various methods that have been used by previous studies to study similar problems;
  • Different literatures that are closely related to the study were reviewed thematically by structuring the literature around different themes that emerged from the research questions and objectives; and
  • Various empirical studies as they relate to the current study were reviewed.

Theoretical framework

A theoretical framework is a collection of interrelated concepts that are similar to a theory but not necessarily so well worked-out. The theoretical framework guides research to determine the concepts it will measure, and the statistical relationships it should look for (Borgatti 1999). However, more often, the term model is used instead of, or interchangeably with, theory. In a broader context, a model is viewed as a representation of reality, it delineates those aspects of the real world considered by the scientist as relevant to the problem under investigation, it makes explicit the significant relationships among these aspects, and it enables the researcher to formulate empirically testable propositions regarding the nature of these relationships (Frankfort-Nachmias & Nachmias 1996:44).
The following models guided the theoretical framework of this study: information systems success model, information behaviour model, technology adoption life cycle models, e-government evolution life cycle models and e-government adoption models as indicated in Table 1-1 of Chapter 1.

Information systems success model

DeLone and McLean (1992) model has been found to be a useful framework for organizing IS success measurements. The model has been widely used by IS researchers to understand and measure the dimensions of IS success. This model was updated although each of the variables describing success of an information system was consistent with one or more of the six major success dimensions of the updated model (Petter, DeLone & McLean 2008).
The dimensions of success include: (i) system quality: the desirable characteristics of an information system; for example, ease of use, system flexibility, system reliability, and ease of learning, as well as system features of intuitiveness, sophistication, flexibility, and response times. (ii) Information quality: the desirable characteristics of the system outputs; that is, management reports and web pages; to measure their relevance, understandability, accuracy, conciseness, completeness, understandability, currency, timeliness, and usability. (iii) Service quality: the quality of the support that system users receive from the IS department and IT support personnel focusing on responsiveness, accuracy, reliability, technical competence, and empathy of the personnel staff. (iv) System use: the degree and manner in which staff and customers utilize the capabilities of an information system to determine amount of use, frequency of use, nature of use, appropriateness of use, extent of use, and purpose of use. (v) User satisfaction: users’ level of satisfaction with reports, web sites, and support services. (vi) Net benefits: the extent to which IS are contributing to the success of individuals, groups, organizations, industries, and nations through improved decision-making, improved productivity, increased sales, cost reductions, improved profits, market efficiency, consumer welfare, creation of jobs, and economic development (Petter, DeLone & McLean 2008:238-239).
This study adopted DeLone and McLean model (1992) to assess the system quality, information quality, user satisfaction, and net benefits since they may affect user intention for continued usage of e-government websites thus affecting adoption of e-government (Teo, Strivastava & Liljiang 2008:100). Also, this model will be used in this study to determine the important role of information access in e-government adoption success.

Information behaviour model

The Wilson (1996) model is a major revision of that of Wilson (1981), drawing upon research from a variety of fields other than information science, including decision-making, psychology, innovation, and health communication and consumer research. The Wilson (1996) model focuses on describing general information behaviour. Using specific theories, the Wilson 1996 model explains how needs prompt people’s information seeking behaviour, source preference, and why some people are more successful than others in pursuing a goal.
The Wilson (1996) model identifies variables such as psychological, demographic, and social/environmental factors, and the characteristics of information sources in determining information seeking behaviour that affect motivation. The model also expanded on different types of information seeking behaviour, including ‘passive’ methods of seeking information. Here, a ‘passive search involves an unintentional search that leads to the acquisition of relevant information, just as a ‘passive attention’ involves a no intentional information seeking activity that results in in an unconscious acquisition of information.
This study adopted Wilson’s (1996) model to answer the following research questions:

  • What are the current government information needs?
  • To what extent does the access and usage of government information and services contribute to e-government adoption?
  • What are the factors that enhance access and use of government information and services?
  • What are the factors that might hinder the usage and access of government information and services?

Technology adoption life cycle model

Technology adoption is defined as an organisation’s decision to acquire a particular technology for various tasks, and the adoption process refers to the individual’s decision whether to integrate an innovation into his or her life (Straub 2009:628-629). According to Rogers (1995), an adoption life cycle is the process through which an individual or other decision making unit passes, from first knowledge of innovation to forming an attitude towards the innovation to the decision to adopt or reject, implement the new idea, and finally confirm this decision. This study did not use the technology adoption life cycle but instead chose the Siau and Long (2005) stage model (e-government evolution life cycle model). This is due to the similarities of the models.
Darmawan (2001:102) developed a four phase conceptual model of innovation adoption and implementation process. These four-phase innovation adoption processes consist of initiation phase, adoption phase, implementation phase, and evaluation phase. These phases are different from the phases in e-government evolution life cycle models. The evolutionary approach examines e-government stages from developing a web page to integrating government systems behind the web interface. In the evolutionary view, governments evolve from one stage to the other.

1.1 Introduction and study rationale
1.2 Background to the study
1.3 Background to the research problem
1.4 Justification for the study
1.5 Significance of the study
1.6 Definition of terms
1.7 Literature review
1.8 Methodology
1.9 Ethical considerations
1.10 Scope and limitations of the study
1.11 Organization of the thesis
1.12 Summary of the chapter
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Significance, characteristics and types of literature review
3.3 Theoretical framework
3.4 Lessons learned from the models
3.5 E-government adoption: review of empirical studies
3.6 Information needs and information seeking behaviour: an overview
3.7 E-government adoption models and human behaviour
3.8 The role of access and use of government information in e-government adoption
3.9 Conceptual framework
3.10 Summary of the chapter
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Research methodology
4.3 Research purpose .
4.4 Research reasoning process
4.5 Research paradigm (philosophy)
4.6 Research design
4.7 Population
4.8 Sample frame
4.9 Sampling procedures
4.10 Sample Size
4.11 Data collection strategies
4.12 Data analysis
4.13 Validity and reliability
4.14 Ethical considerations
4.15 Evaluation of research methodology
4.16 Summary of the chapter
5.2 Characteristics of the respondents
5.3 Access to internet and e-government adoption
5.4 Factor analysis: factors which enhance/hinder access to electronic government information
5.5 Other factors which enhance/hinder e-government adoption
5.6 Answering the research questions
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Government information needs
6.3 Role of access of e-government information in e-government adoption
6.4 A validated model of factors that influence access to electronic government information (FAAEI) and e-government adoption
6.5 Non-significant results
6.6 Opportunities for e-government adoption
6.7 Chapter summary
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Overall summary of the study
7.3 Conclusions
7.4 Recommendations
7.5 Suggestions for further research

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