Disseration Chapter 1 - The Economic Implications of Information Technology in E-Governance: A System Thinking/System Dynamics Approach
The implementation of information and communications technology (ICT) and other associated strategies and practices, including e-commerce, and the distribution of the Internet to the general public have caused the increase level of relieve and awareness with the technologies in different context, such as communication, e-marketing as well as academic activities. As a result, the expectations of the citizens increased towards the services being offered by the public sector organizations or the government (Ebrahim & Irani 2005). The result of these increasing demands is the materialization of e-government. E-government is the processes and structures that are relevant to the delivery of government services to the public in electronic manner, it involves the application of ICTs in order to support government operations and offer government services (Fraga 2002).
During the past, different organizations in the government give little awareness and consideration to the quality or service or the responsiveness to the clients, but this had changed due to the materialization of the term new public management (NPM) in major developed countries in the world in 1990s (Hughes 2003). This focuses on the professional management strategies and actions which include service quality, performance management and risk management. With this, it can be said that e-governance is considered as the second revolution of public management after NPM. This can help in transforming, not just the manner of delivering public services, but also the essential and primary connection between the government and the citizen. In connection, e-governance pertains on the process of using ICTs in order to tract the business of the government; it enables to promise full service availability, accessibility and reduction of the service cost; and it also help to improve the purpose of democracy due to the availability and accessibility of government information through the Internet (Teicher & Hughes 2002).
Application of different Information Technology (IT), which include the Internet and different software which enables government to implement their transactions and processes via online cause different influence or impact towards the overall environment of one country or nation. These include the political, social, technological and economic factors. Particularly, this study will focus on analyzing the economic impact of IT towards e-governance, however, because the author believe government is a system that is being influenced by different factors in the environment, other factors will also be considered, because some of the economic factors are connected to social, political and technological factors.
Southwark is the area of London, south of London Bridge. The community was called the Borough since 1550, in order to contrast it with its neighboring city, and distinguish it from the larger Metropolitan Borough of Southwark. It is one of the 33 local government boroughs in the Greater London that is located on the south of the River Thames. Southwark is described as an inner city borough – but, it covers areas of different housing types, which influenced the varying demographic profile (StudentSkiParlament n.d.).
In 2007, there are total of 269,200 people in Southwark, composed of 136,500 males and 132,700 females. In terms of age, 41.6% of the entire Southwark’s population is composed of 25 – 44 year old, while 5.4% are 15 – 19 year old (StudentSkiParlament n.d.).
In terms of wealth, Southwark is considered as the 9th most deprived borough of the 33 in London, and the 26th among the most deprived borough in England, of 354. The 2007 census showed that there 53.3% of the entire population in Southwark have their own home, while 34.8% are housed by the Local authority, the 12% live under registered social landlords. Inside the Southwark, there are 8 areas which make up the borough (StudentSkiParlament n.d.).
Southwark council has a constitution which focus on how the council process decision-making. The councilors are being elected by the citizens – elections are held every 4 years. Southwark Council has 63 councilors, who are considered as the representatives of the 21 wards, which make up the borough of Southwark. Every month, the councilors meet for the assembly chaired by the Mayor (StudentSkiParlament n.d.).
In 2002, the government of Southwark decided to develop a local e-government strategy which supports the improvement in services to all of the members of the community, target of 100% electronic service, and was planned to be finished and launched completely in December of 2005. The vision of the e-government is “to achieve a radical and sustainable improvement to the long-term quality of life of our residents, through investing in technology that will enable a complete overhaul of how services are provided to the citizens (Southwark 2002).”
The priority outcome of the government focuses on the 5 vital and primary initiatives which include: service, information, community, business and connection (Southwark 2002). This enables the government to focus on implementing e-government project that will enable to connect the important entities or stakeholders that are connected to the operations and performances of the government. This project does not just focus on the connection of the customers or the citizens with the government but also focus on how the departments, units and organization within the government will be connected or networked in order to create linkages between these departments and units, which will make communications inside the government, easier and more transparent.
As part of the initiatives, the following are the government services included in the e-government initiatives of the borough:
- payments into the Council;
- Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and National Land & Property Gazetteer;
- Remote System Access for Council staff;
- Document Management and Workflow;
- purchasing or good and services for the Council; and
- One Stop Change of Address (Southwark 2002).
According to the government, the e-government initiatives enable the borough to obtain different improvement and advantages by 2006, which include:
- improvement of performance and quality of service provided to local people;
- improvement of use of information;
- enablement and enhancement of partnership works;
- enhancement of the access of the customers;
- improvement of the communication and consultation process with the local people; and
- improvement of the ability and desire of the local people to participate in the democratic process (Southwark 2002).
The main aim of the study is to evaluate and understand the economic implications of IT in e-governance. However, the author focus on studying the subject or the topic in line with system thinking or system dynamic approach, therefore, it is important to focus on other important implications of IT in e-governance – which pertains on the different factors and group of environmental aspects that can directly or indirectly affect the economic implications of IT in e-governance, or affect the e-governance itself.
In line with this, the following are the specific objectives of the study:
- to evaluate the political, economic, social and technological implications of IT in e-governance;
- to assess how the political, social and technological implications of IT in e-governance, is connected to its economic implications; and
- to present the overall importance of IT in e-governance.
With this, the paper mainly focuses on the holistic or the whole system of e-governance, by considering other important factors on the e-governance environment, other than economic: social, political and technological. This is because of the fact that all of these factors are all external or macro-environmental factors which directly or indirectly influence each other, thus affect the entity – individual, group or organization.
In line with the research objectives, research questions were prepared and presented in order to guide the researcher in the preliminary stages of researching, and offer the readers with what to expect in the paper. The following questions will be answered by this study:
- What are the different macro-environmental implications of IT in e-governance?
- What are the political, economic, social and technological implications of IT in e-governance of Southwark?
- How does the implementation of e-government affect the overall operation of Southwark Council?
- How does the implementation of e-government affect the lives of the Southwark citizens?
All of these questions will be presented and answered in the later part of the research, particularly in the conclusion and recommendation part.
This research will employ both qualitative and quantitative methods – focus on investigating the economic implications of IT in e-governance in Southwark. This will mainly focus on the current conditions and situations of the e-governance environment in specific borough or selected place; identify the different factors affecting e-governance; and the perspectives of the Southwark Council employees and citizens regarding the implementation of e-government in the borough. In order to implement this research, the author focus on gathering information and data from the employees in the local government and the perspectives of the citizens, regarding the impact of the system in their daily lives, including their connection with the government. On the other hand, secondary data were gathered from different online and offline resources, including articles, reports, journals, textbooks, magazines and newspapers.
In order to investigate the issue further, different economic, governmental and IT terms will be covered including: network, system, intranet, tax etc.
Time will be the most important limitation in this study, which is a great factor that can affect the process of achieving the long-term objectives of the study. Other factors also affected the study, including the small number of population used in the study, which may affect the sufficiency of the data to represent the entire population.
The following are the scope of the study:
- to highlight the key factors and aspects that are related with the success of e-government; and
- to highlight the key factors and aspects that are related with the economic implications of IT in e-governance.
This chapter enables to show the different information that are related with the problem and background of the research study. In addition, it serves as a guide or key to the perceptions and expectations of the readers regarding what to look forward to or what to consider in this study. It enables to show the aim, and its specific objectives and goals, together with the research questions that will be shown and presented at the end of the paper.
This paper mainly focuses on the economic implications of IT in e-governance using the case of Southwark. After presenting the background information as well as the motivation for the research, it is important to focus on reviewing the different literatures or studies that have been implemented in the past. This will help in order to enable the readers to have in-depth ideas regarding the issue. The next chapter will tackle the different studies and literatures from the past which discuss e-governance.