‘We use Facebook, but why not electronic government?’
Dr Yogesh K. Dwivedi is a senior lecturer at the Swansea University Business School and is currently investigating adoption of emerging electronic applications such as electronic government and electronic health.
Is There a Silver Bullet for Promoting Adoption of Electronic Services? Dr Yogesh K. Dwivedi is a senior lecturer at the Swansea University Business School and is currently investigating adoption of emerging electronic applications such as electronic government and electronic health.
WHY is it that using social media (such as Facebook) is second nature for many people in Wales now but very few people use ICT to access government services?
The fast evolution of information and communication technologies (ICT) and electronic applications is affecting the way we live, work, shop, bank, access health and educational services, and connect and interact with government, family and friends.
Although we are experiencing fast adoption of social media and many commercial electronic services (such as electronic auctions by eBay), there seems to be little interest in accessing government services online.
Electronic government refers to the utilisation of ICT for delivering government information and services to citizens, businesses, employees, and governments.
Currently the UK Government provides electronic access to all public services (including education, tax and benefits, employment, pension, and environmental services) for its citizens through a single ‘Directgov’ portal.
Electronic access to such services will provide flexibility and convenience to citizens through ‘anytime, anywhere’ access to such services while also leading to reduced costs and increased efficiency, responsiveness and transparency of public sector organisations. Moreover, increasing electronic access to services will reduce the need to travel, which will contribute to a carbon footprint reduction and improved environmental sustainability.
Despite the various benefits offered by electronic access to government services, currently few people are engaging in this method; most still prefer to access such services by traditional means.
This is why my current research is focused on exploring the following questions: Are citizens aware of the availability and benefits of electronic public services? What factors determine the speed of adoption of such services? How can adoption of such services be promoted widely? Are there any negative socio-economic consequences of inequitable access and adoption of such technologies and systems?
I believe there is no silver bullet for increasing equitable societal adoption of emerging electronic government services.
My previous researches on other technologies suggest that, in general, a number of individual-level factors (for example, awareness, knowledge, skill, requisite resources, perceived need, complexity of application, trust, risk, privacy and security) may influence individual behaviour to adopt and use new technologies and applications.
However, not all such factors are of equal importance for all technologies in all contexts. Instead, a specific set of factors (for example, awareness, requisite resources, complexity of application, trust and security) play a more predominant role in influencing adoption of a specific technology such as electronic government.
My current research will aim to identify and determine such specific factors for promoting widespread and equitable adoption of electronic government services.
Upon completion, my research findings may help to formulate effective strategies and may influence policy for transforming Wales and the rest of the UK into a sustainable digital society in a true sense.
To contact Yogesh please email firstname.lastname@example.org
This article first appeared in the Western Mail‘s Health Wales supplement on 23rd July 2012, as part of the Welsh Crucible series of research profiles.