Digitized government best practices in country web sites from 2003 to 2008: The results are bifurcated

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to examine best practices of worldwide country web sites, evaluated in 2003, 2005 and 2008 by the United Nations (UN). Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper employs statistical analysis to determine whether the electronic innovation (digitized government) exhibits linear (unitary) or curvilinear (S-type) processes in relation to four theories of information technology (IT) and social change. Findings ‐ The findings are bifurcated between 2003 and 2008. In the aggregate (highest scores), worldwide countries are responding to the value-added qualities of digitized government, defined as the transactions of e-government and the interactions of e-governance. Yet, the disaggregate (first adopter) best practices data reveal significant downward trends between those survey years, especially, among Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) countries. The findings indicate that neither electronic dimension predicts the other's course. They also suggest that dual curvilinear processes explain e-government and e-governance. Research limitations/implications ‐ It is customary to employ random samples to verify the integrity of significance tests. In this research, however, the study population is a given (all UN members). The study universe (the whole subset) ‐ that represents countries with the largest number of electronic offerings ‐ and the study sample (the best practices subset) are virtually the same. It is not possible to attribute any of the outcomes to a sampling error (miscalculation). Nor is it likely to confuse conflating (mistaking) sample size and effect size (relationship strength) of the distributions. Originality/value ‐ Longitudinal (over time) studies of country web site best practices are almost non-existent. Support for a dual curvilinear relationship between e-government (transactions) and e-governance (interactions) opens the way for a fuller treatment of digitized government best practices. Questioning the premise that a sustained electronic (democratizing) transformation is underway, notably, among first adopters is a compelling and critical outcome.
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