Addressing the challenges of e-Government: learning from the IT industry

Publication Date12 Feb 2018
AuthorAnupam Nath,Debjani Kanjilal
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Knowledge management,Knowledge management systems
Addressing the challenges of
e-Government: learning from the
IT industry
Anupam Nath
Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA, and
Debjani Kanjilal
Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, USA
Purpose This study aims to identifythe challenges in current government organizations while providing
services that require a collaborative effort. It also identies the ways through which government
organizationscan address the collaboration challenges in wayssuch as those adopted by leading information
technology organizations. Finally, this research also aims to identify the obstacles in government
organizations,which could prevent them from successfully adoptingnew technologies.
Design/methodology/approach The researchwas conducted in three phases. In the rst phase, a case
study was conducted on a government organization identifying the challenges in delivering services that
require collaboration among different stake holders. In the second phase, multiple case studies were
performed on three leading organizations who have successfully implemented the Web 2.0 technologies to
address collaborationchallenges while providing efcientservice deliveries. In the third phase of the research,
a case study was conducted on a government organizationto identify the obstacles faced while implementing
the identiedsolution(s).
Findings Identication of existing problems while providing efcient service deliveries was possible
using a case study approach. This research also ndsthat Web 2.0-based knowledge management tools can
be very effective in addressing the existing challenges in the current state of e-Government. Finally, the
research also nds that realization by the upper management, technology adoption cost, adoption of new
work paradigm and time to create an effective repository are some of the major obstacles faced by the
governmentorganization while trying to adopt the proposed solution.
Originality/value To the best of the authorsknowledge, this research is the rst to conduct rigorous
case studies on three different leading information technology organizations simultaneously to address a
challenge in the current state of e-Government.This research also provides implications for practitioners as,
based on the ndings, they can implement the Web 2.0 technologies to address challenges in government
organizationswhile providing efcient service deliveries. Furthermore,the research provides implicationsfor
further research to analyze the performance of the government organizations after they adopt these
Keywords E-Government, Efcient service delivery, Web 2.0 collaboration
Paper type Research paper
The concept of e-Government evolved from the domain of e-business where
organizations have to collaborate electronically through internet and related
technologies with customers, suppliers and other partner organizations for effective
delivery of services. The implementation of e-Government could imply different
objectives and different levels of transformation. Most countries frequently adopt and
implement e-Government worldwide to improve service delivery to their citizens
Received10 November 2016
Revised8 June 2017
Accepted12 July 2017
VINEJournal of Information and
KnowledgeManagement Systems
Vol.48 No. 1, 2018
pp. 62-82
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/VJIKMS-11-2016-0062
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
(Matthes and Kreutz, 2007;Nkomo, 2012). Regardless of the primary goal, the effective
delivery of e-services requires integration of process and information systems (IS) and
coordination of processes between disparate organizations and stakeholders.
Historically, bureaucracies associated within government organizations prevented
them from delivering effective services (Haitham, 2014;Wilson, 1989). Even after the
emergence of e-Government, most bureaucratic processes still involve signicant
manual work and have redundant checkpoints (Nath and Kanjilal, 2014). When the
stakeholders in a process work as separate entities, each managing or dealing with
disconnected silos of knowledge and information, it becomes difcult to render efcient
delivery of services. Hence, the rst step toward efcient delivery of services is to
facilitate a transparent networked environment where governments can truly partner
with other government organizations, businesses, citizens and additional stakeholders
(Husin et al., 2016;Haitham, 2014;Fan, 2013;GAO (USA General Accounting Ofce),
2003). However, because of political, organizational and technical reasons, there exist
challenges in creating such a transparent, collaborative environment in a government
organization. In our research, we intend to identify such challenges. Consequently, our
rst research question is:
RQ1. What are the challenges in the current government organizations in providing
services, which requirecollaborative effort?
Collaborative, transparent environment is a challenge for business organizations as well
(Nath et al., 2009). Information technology (IT) industry leaders have successfully
implemented different collaborative technology such as Web 2.0-based tools to address
these challenges (Nath, 2012). While Web 2.0 has gained widespread popularity at the
consumer level, it is still not well-understood how Web 2.0 can be effectively used for
knowledge management (KM) by enterprises. Innovation diffusion theory (Rogers, 1995)
suggests identifyingand understanding the uses by early adopterof a new technology can
help late majority, organizations to adopt that technology efciently. Relying on the
innovation diffusion theory,we believe that the late majority government organizations can
learn from the early adopters leading IT organizations the best ways to effectively adopt
and use Web 2.0 for KM to make their collaboration efforts moreeffective and deliver better
e-services to the citizens.
However, in the existing literature, there is lack of clear understanding of how to
effectively use Web 2.0 forKM. To address the shortcoming of understanding of Web 2.0 for
KM at organizationallevel, we propose our second research question:
RQ2. How are the leading IT organizations using Web 2.0 tools for effective
collaborationwithin the organization?
Because of the presence of internal obstacles in mostly bureaucratic government
organizations, adopting a new technology and/or tool in a government organization is not
easy (Janita and Chong, 2013;Robeyet al., 2013). In our research, we intend to identify these
obstacles. This leadsus toour third research question:
RQ3. What are the obstacles of adopting new technology tool for collaboration in
Our research, guided by the three researchquestions, essentially has three major phases. In
the rst phase, we identify the existing challenges faced by current government
organizations while providing services that require collaborative effort. Consequently, we
conduct a case study on a governmentorganization and a service that they provide. On the
Challenges of

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