Structuring stakeholder e‐inclusion needs

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/14779961011040587
Publication Date04 May 2010
Pages178-205
AuthorDavid Wright
SubjectInformation & knowledge management
REGULAR ARTICLES
Structuring stakeholder
e-inclusion needs
David Wright
Trilateral Research & Consulting LLP, London, UK
Abstract
Purpose – This purpose of this paper is to identify principal stakeholders and needs in e-inclusion,
with particular reference to senior citizens, determining to what extent those needs are being met or
could be met by other stakeholders. It considers inclusive stakeholder organisational structures that
could address unmet needs.
Design/methodology/approach – Although the European Commission (EC), Member States, local
authorities, industry, and researchers have called for greater collaboration and partnerships among
stakeholders to overcome the so-called digital divides, little attention has been giv]en to the form of
collaboration. Reviewing various policy-oriented documents, this paper compiles a list of principal
stakeholders and their e-inclusion needs, reviews existing multi-stakeholder undertakings and
partnership structures as candidates for addressing needs not already met.
Findings Many importante-inclusion needs arenot addressed by any multi-stakeholderundertaking.
Some structured collaboration or partnership should address those needs. A new structure should not
merely representall interested stakeholders, but involvethem in decision-making processes.
Research limitations/implications – This is a conceptual paper, constrained by length from
producing a detailed list of needs. Similarly, although the paper identifies 12 different stakeholder
categories, some could be further segmented.
Practical implications – Further research and analysis could be undertaken sourcing each
identified need, perhaps adding others and further segmenting stakeholder categories.
Originality/value – The paper is of value to stakeholders involved or interested in e-inclusion
efforts. It uses a novel, straight-forward, approach for identifying stakeholders and needs, who can
meet those needs and who is addressing those needs.
Keywords Stakeholder analysis, Electronic media,Communication technologies, Olderconsumers,
Partnership
Paper type Conceptual paper
1. Introduction
More than 25 years after the introduction of the personal computer (PC) and almost
20 years since creation of the world wide web[1], many people have neither a computer
nor access to the internet. There are various reasons for this – some people cannot
afford a PC or the cost of subscribing to an internet service provider, some people live in
geographically isolated areas, some do not want to be connected, some think they are
too old to learn new tricks. Studies have shown that socially excluded groups are those
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
www.emeraldinsight.com/1477-996X.htm
This paper is based on research performed by the author as a partner in the SENIOR project
(Grant Agreement No. 216820) funded by the EC under its Seventh Framework Programme.
The views expressed in this paper are those of the author alone and are in no way intended to
reflect those of the EC. The author acknowledges with thanks the useful comments of the Editor
and the two anonymous reviewers.
JICES
8,2
178
Received 30 July 2008
Revised 8 February 2009
Accepted 19 March 2009
Journal of Information,
Communication & Ethics in Society
Vol. 8 No. 2, 2010
pp. 178-205
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
1477-996X
DOI 10.1108/14779961011040587
most likely to be digitally excluded, i.e. least likely to access or benefit from informati on
and communication technologies (ICT) (Foley et al., 2005). As an indicator of the digital
divide, Eurostat figures showed a generation gap for the end of 2007 where only a
quarter of those over the age of 55 used the internet (not necessarily from their homes)
at least once a week compared to 78 per cent of those between the ages of 16 and 24
(Smihily, 2007)[2].
To overcome the so-called digital divide, the gap between those people with effective
access to information technologies (IT) and those without, the European Union (EU)
and its Member States have adopted a range of e-inclusion policies[3].
The current impetus given to e-inclusion of senior citizens, the subject of this paper,
arises from three main factors. First, Europe’s demographic profile is changing.
The percentage of senior citizens (say those over the age of 60) is increasing while the
percentage of younger people is declining, which means there will be fewer people
working to support those not working. A shrinking tax base with greater deman ds
placed upon it has obvious negative impacts for Europe’s economy.
Second, Europe’s principles of solidarity and social equity impel it to correct a
situation where a large percentage of its population are on the wrong side of the digital
divide, based on the generally accepted assumption that access to the internet and
other digital technologies would improve their lot in life.
Third, the news media, civil society organisations (CSOs) and other stakeholders
pay attention to digital divide issues which ensures that such issues stay on the
political agenda and puts pressure on politicians to find solutions.
1.1 The changing demographic profile
Eurostat (2008) has forecast that the number of deaths in the EU will outnumber births
from 2015 onwards. It also projects that the population of the 27 Member States of the
EU will continue to grow older, with the share of the population aged 65 years and over
rising from 17 per cent in 2008 to 30 per cent in 2060. More people will be living longer
too. The population of those aged 80 and over is expected to grow from 4 per cent today
to more than 12 per cent by 2060.
The economic consequences of Europe’s chan ging demographic profile are
far-reaching. It is not simply that fewer younger people will need to support more old
people, there are also competitive consequences for Europe, as Eberstadt and Groth
(2007) have pointed out. Indeed, they say, these demographic trends have alrea dy had a
major influence in the disparity between growth rates in Europe and the USA. “To make
matters worse, the demographic structure within the working-age population of western
Europe is changing in ways that augur poorly for the region’s productivity. In every
society, innovations, inventions, and breakthroughs occur disproportionately among
people between 30 and 44 [...]. And the 30-to-44-year-old cohort in western Europe is set
to shrink by 20 per cent by 2030, from 91 million to 72 million. By contrast, that pool is
expected to grow, albeit modestly, in the USA, in the years ahead, from about 64 million
in 2005 to around 69 million in 2030”. However, the authors point out that “western
Europe does possess one clear demographic advantage over the USA: its population,
while relatively old, is also unusually healthy. And this factor is critical to economic
competitiveness, since growth today is driven more by human resources than by na tural
ones”. The challenge for Europe is how to capture the economic opportunities made
possible by healthy ageing, notably by encouraging Europeans to work at older ages.
Structuring
stakeholder
e-inclusion needs
179

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