This is an excerpt from my latest academic contribution.
How to Cite: Camilleri, M.A. (2019). The online users’ perceptions toward electronic government services. Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society. 10.1108/JICES-09-2019-0102
Several governments around the globe are utilizing the digital and mobile technologies to enhance the provision of their public services (EuroParl, 2015; Zuiderwijk Janssen & Dwivedi. 2015). Digital and mobile services are the facilitating instruments that are enabling all levels of the governments’ operations, to better service their citizens, big businesses, small enterprises and non-profit organizations (Wirtz & Birkmeyer, 2018; Rana & Dwivedi, 2015; Evans & Campos, 2013). The-governments are increasingly relying on ICT, including computers, websites and business process re-engineering (BPR) to engage with online users (Isaías, Pífano & Miranda, 2012; Weerakkody, Janssen & Dwivedi, 2011). Hence, the delivery of e-government and m-government services may usually demand the public service to implement specific transformational processes and procedures that are ultimately intended to add value to customers (Pereira, Macadar, Luciano & Testa, 2017). Previously, the-governments’ consumers relied on face-to-face interactions or on telephone communications to engage with their consumers. Gradually, many governments had introduced interactive communications as departments and their officials started using the emails to engage with online users. Today, citizens and businesses can communicate and interact with the-government departments and agencies in real-time, through virtual call centers, via instant-messaging (IM), graphical user interfaces (GUI) and audio/video presentations.
In the past, the-governments’ services were operated in administrative silos of information (EuroParl, 2017). However, the electronic governance involves the data exchange between the-government and its stakeholders, including the businesses as well as the general public (Pereira et al., 2017; Rana & Dwivedi, 2015; Chun et al., 2010). The advances in interactive technologies have brought significant improvements in the delivery of service quality to online users of the Internet (Sá, Rocha & Cota, 2016; Isaías et al., 2012). As a result, the e-government and m-government services have become refined and sophisticated. Thus, the provision of online services is more efficient and less costly when compared to the offline services.
However, there are still many citizens and businesses who for various reasons may not want to engage with the-governments’ electronic and/or mobile services (Shareef, Kumar, Dwivedi & Kumar, 2016; 2014). This argumentation is conspicuous with the digital divide in society as not everyone is benefiting from an equitable access and democratic participation in the Internet or from the e-government systems (Ebbers, Jansen & van Deursen, 2016; Friemel, 2016; Luna-Reyes, Gil-Garcia & Romero, 2012; Isaías, Miranda & Pífano, 2009). The low usage of e-government systems impedes the ability of many governments to connect to citizens (Danila & Abdullah, 2014). Mensah (2018) held that the government authorities should promote the utilization of user-friendly mobile applications as the majority of citizens are increasingly engaging with their smartphones for different purposes, including to access information and services. Many countries around the world have introduced online government portals can be accessed through desktop computers as well as via mobile-friendly designs (Camilleri, 2019a; Ndou, 2004). Massey et al. (2019) posited that the government’s electronic services can be integrated among different devices in order to ensure an effective service delivery. These authors also maintained that the citizens are increasingly relying on the features of the mobile technologies as they are always connected to wireless networks. Their portable, mobile devices can provide access to a wide array of public information at any time and in any place (Camilleri & Camilleri, 2019; Wirtz & Birkmeyer, 2018; Sareen, Punia, & Chanana, 2013).
In a similar vein, many citizens may easily access their respective government’s online portal via virtual, open networks. They can also receive instantaneous messages and responses from the governments’ public service systems in their mobile devices, including smart phones or tablets (Shareef et al., 2016). Therefore, m-governance can possibly enhance the quality of the public services in terms of improved efficiency and cost savings (Madden, Bohlin, Oniki, & Tran, 2013). Notwithstanding, in the near future, the government’s electronic systems will be in a better position to exceed their citizens’ expectations, in terms of quality of service (Li & Shang, 2019). The advances in technology, including the increased massive wireless data traffic from different application scenarios, as well as the efficient resource allocation schemes will be better exploited to improve the capacity of online and mobile networks (Zhang, Liu, Chu, Long, Aghvami & Leung, 2017). For instance, the fifth generation (5G) of mobile communication systems is expected to enhance the citizens’ service quality as they may offer higher mobile connection speeds, capacities and reduced latencies (Osseiran, Boccardi, Braun, Kusume, Marsch, Maternia & Tullberg, 2014; Zhang et al., 2017).
Nevertheless, despite these technological breakthroughs, there are many citizens who are still reluctant to use the-governments’ electronic and/or mobile services as they hold negative perceptions toward public administration (Wirtz & Birkmeyer, 2018; Shareef, Dwivedi, Stamati, & Williams, 2014). These individuals are not comfortable to share their personal information online (Van Deursen & Van Dijk, 2014). They may perceive that e-government and/or m-government platforms are risky and unsecure (Conradie & Choenni, 2014; Bélanger & Carter, 2008). Consequentially, they will decide not to upload their data as they suspect that it can be used by third parties (Picazo-Vela et al., 2012; Bélanger & Carter, 2008).
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