E-Government: Antecedents to Technology Adoption and Creating Public Value in Pakistan

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Nishat, Shahid (2022) E-Government: Antecedents to Technology Adoption and Creating Public Value in Pakistan. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.


E-Government or e-Gov initiatives have attracted substantial public investment by governments around the world. This trend is driven by the premise that these systems improve efficiency, transform public services and enable citizen participation in social democratic processes. The paradox, however, is that unfortunately many such initiatives, particularly in emerging economies like Pakistan, fail to achieve these intended outcomes. The reality is that despite huge investments two issues persist: firstly, a low level of adoption of e-Gov services; and secondly, an inability to achieve the desired impact. Adoption is typically explained in the literature with reference to characteristics of technology, while individual technology disposition is ignored. Impact is typically measured by techno-economic parameters, albeit that impact is best determined by those who use the services – citizens, measured in terms of public value (PV). This study examined the antecedents of technology adoption and creation of public value impact thereof for individual citizens. Adoption concerns the interaction between system characteristics and individual dispositions, while impact is determined by perceptions of value created by the uptake of e-Gov systems by citizens. The study used a mixed methods approach, with an online survey to collect data and examined adoption and PV using the multivariate technique of Structured Equation Modelling (SEM). Open-ended questions, supplemented by nine semi-structured interviews with senior managers in the government, served to assess how government can support the adoption and creation of public value in Pakistan. Study findings reveal a significant positive relationship exists between motivating dispositions of optimism and innovativeness and e-Gov use, and a significant negative relationship exists between inhibiting dispositions of discomfort and insecurity and e-Gov use. These results validate the construct of technology readiness (TR) in the context of Pakistan. Both sub-dimensions of TR, motivators and inhibitors were, however, found to have no significant influence on user satisfaction. Conversely, all system characteristics, information, system and service quality appear to influence user satisfaction (US), but with service quality the strongest determinant of US. This latter distinction is important because it emerges that US is more strongly associated with the creation of PV. Both information and service quality positively influence e-Gov use, however system quality appears not to have any significant influence on e-Gov use, presumably because technology is now sufficiently advanced for functionality to be normalised as a user expectation. Addressing a gap in the literature concerning what constitutes success in e-Gov initiatives, this study suggests both use of e-Gov services and associated user satisfaction, which is derived from accessing these services, are important. However, while both considerations are central to success, there is a spectrum in PV creation that ranges from cost-based operational efficiency to user-centred functional effectiveness and to increased public participation in social and democratic processes. These three conditions make up a novel PV impact framework, with two enabling attributes, trust and transparency, also identified. Methodologically, the study identifies a user-centric policy and practice framework for practitioners to direct policy efforts towards e-Gov adoption and creation of PV. The framework includes three tensions that arguably sustain the e-Gov paradox. The first tension is ad-hoc policy which exists due to the lack of an enabling environment, and in this study is characterised by bureaucratic inertia and decision-making stovepipes or silos. A second tension is the tendency for policy to be decoupled from implementation due to lack of an integrating e-Gov practice framework to bridge the digital divide(s). This is evident in the variable access to infrastructure and high cost, as well as varying urban/rural needs, digital literacy and language competence, with a significant majority of users being more comfortable using a local language rather than English, the official language of government. A third tension is the tendency for e-Gov practitioners and the Digital Pakistan Policy (DPP) to be blind to identifying and meeting user or demand-side needs. Key enablers of this user-centric view of PV are design-based trust and the establishment of a system of redressal. In summary, there are direct and indirect factors that drive public value creation, with the core need identified for governments is to shift from a provider-centred focus to a citizen-centred or user focus. The e-Gov policy and practice framework can help practitioners and researchers alike to both inform and examine policy efforts related to e-Gov uptake and PV creation based on measuring what matters most for the user. These study findings are likely to be of keen relevance to decision-makers in the Government of Pakistan and other emerging economies wishing to bridge the e-Gov paradox noted in literature.

Additional Information

Doctor of Business Administration

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/44406
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3503 Business systems in context
Current > Division/Research > VU School of Business
Keywords e-Government, e-Gov adoption, technology readiness, digital-divide, impact, public value
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