Sunday, September 03, 2006

Post 6: Electronic Government in Developing Countries

The main idea of my proposal is to have a varied and multicultural discussion and data recolection of all the effords, policies, strategic plans and implementaton and diffusion activites each governments (from the perspective of developing or small countries, because Korea is not a devloping country or China) have being doing during the past 5 year or so to encourage de adoption from the citizens and to cross analize this effords in order to stablish commonly basis or a framework that these countries have been working with even without having any communication or related activities with each others. I have been tracing the activity from Malaysia and Mexico, so it woul be very interesting to compare the information with these other countries. I will be so glad to have all the information that you can provide so that we can have a very participative discussion. I'll hope to see your posting, thanks.


Poong Oh said...

It’s a very interesting topic. I think Susana regards “electronic government” as an innovation and assumes that there are differences among different countries in the process of adapting but that we can also find certain patterns of adopting the electronic government.

In Korea, there were some efforts to computerize all process of civil affairs about 10 years ago. For example, we could request administrative documents, such as birth certificates, just by clicking some icons several times on the Internet. Emphasizing on its efficiency and convenience, the Korean government were trying to implement the electronic governmental system. But, many civic organizations were all against the government’s policy, because they worried that the perfect electronic governmental system would violate personal privacy. For instance, electronic ID card could be an advanced type of “fetters” and people would be monitored by the government, whatever they do. Because of strong resistance of civic organizations, the electronic government plans actually stopped. Although electronic government is now partially operating on the internet, (visit however, its functions or roles do not come up to the original goal. In other words, the electronic governmental system in Korea almost failed.
In my opinion, electronic governmental system is a kind of collective adoption and the process of adopting it should be considered a decision-making process rather than a diffusion process. I mean that it is not an individual process but a collective and social process, especially when the government is very authoritative or dictatorial.
In other hands, speaking of the innovative attributes of electronic governmental system, it has a lot of “relative advantage” but it is “hardly compatible” with democratic values to secure personal privacy and freedom.
This is my opinion. Other Korean could have different opinions. If I had enough time to review them, I could suggest more general opinion. Sorry.
I want to see the other cases.

PS. Is there anything posted by Daniela? or Is there any problem with my computer?

Soonok said...

I read the article about the IT and it applications of Hungary, a very small country in Central Europe, with a population of 10.1 million and GDP around USD 50 billion.

What the government of Hungary did for e-government infranstructure? What were the problems?

E-government's main goal is to create a service oriented public administration, providing one-step window services to cititzens (e.g. registration of a new company can be down in one place, with all the inter-department communications being performed over the network).

The government pass the regulations such as Act on Communications in 2001, Act on Electronic Signature. Therefore, it prepared a legal framework for the information society (data transmission in business, public sector, and other areas of life)

However, there are some problems such as lack of access, ability, and motivations... The computers are too expensive to be household items for middle or low income families... The internet access is also very limited. The workforce to teach and lead the these e-government are very short in terms of number.

For small developing countries, the e-government policy is initiated by the government. Like other things initiated by the government, the communications for these look one-side approach.

Of course, the business sector and the education sector are ahead of the government sector. So there is a high chance that the people are used to these electronic applications in the public sector. However, the sense that the people take from these could be really different from what they already knew since the approaches are usually one-way or very authorative (not inter-active).

Daniela said...

Posted for Susu (Cathy):

I think the birth of electronic government is the innovation between the old and the noew governemt's public service system.The government website could be the key carrier of electronic government. It is a more effecitive, interactive government. It is suppisitional since it is operated on line. Through the websites, the government can post the policies and information, inquire or answer the questions, collect and administrate the data of their employees.
Obviously, the development of the high technology contributes to this innovation, since it is the hardware of this innovation.

As for the soft ware, I think it should be the awareness's updating of the government(or say any organization). For example,In China, as u know, our
country's constituion is launched under the socialism. Which means, perhaps 20 years ago, we focused more on the planned ecnomy but not marketed economy which was adopted a lot since about 10 years ago. 20-25 years ago,the government did not realize how important the democracy could play a role in the government function. At that time, the absolutely governing was the hierarchy power in the constitution. Why the government wanna change the old governing system into the new administering system? Because they ve already found the role of the democracy. So they wanna take the advantage of the high technology(the dramatic development of internet website during these years)to build up a more interactive government which could be a good communication bridge between citizens and the government. With this bridge, they can easily know citizen's thoughts and concerns,they can get the feedbacks of their new policies that if they r good or not and if the citizens r satisfied to accept them or not. This will bring about a good communication between the government and citizens. This will definitely help them to improve and reinforce their administrating.

So, in China, the government would love to apply the new technology(hardware) to achieve the interactive(both-sides) communication that leads the democracy awareness(software).So, I do think the "software" could be the potential stimulus for the innovation of the "hardwares".

Currently, in China,based on the electronic government system, the model of
the government operation system is changing from governing(absolute controling) to administrating(relative managing) to the newest one---serving(good public service,communicating with people in more channels).The electronic government could include 4 parts I think, Technology(basic method),Information(carrier),Government(main body) and Service(final goal).The electronic government in China target at serving the citizens, the social organizations, the companies and the government employees who r their target
audience or say their customers. It aims at intergrating the social resources in the way of limiting the cost to the minimum degree.

Susana,all above is just my own opinions. Hope we can share more different views with other classmates. BTW, I like this posting stuff for our participative discussion. It's really helpful and informative~~

Chen, Ko-Jung said...


john thomas said...

I guess you could say that the United States is not a developing country, but in many ways, our E-government websites face the same diffusion issues as those that exist in traditional developing states.

I think of my own e-government use, and I have to say that it is very sparce. I do not think of asking my government for information. I do not depend on the government for advice as to how to live, work or play. The only on-line contact with the government I have is taxes. My experience here has been very good, and perhaps there are some lessons to be learned.

Value is the critical ingredient to secure online participation.

Relating value to Roger's adoption refers to his point on rate of adopton and relative advantage of the new technology. I use e-government for taxes because of the value, it is easier, it saves me time, it is to my benefit to use it.

So, a simple lesson in getting people to adopt = create value and major consumer benefits. People will seek the services. If the value is great enough, word will spread and citizens will use the systems.

Helen said...

A year ago, when I was taking MIS 655: Social Implications of Human-Computer Interaction, I was part of a group that looked into the ways in which technology could benefit women who were recovering from abusive relationships. We spoke with directors of shelters for such women and their children. One thing that these directors and their employees did extensively was to help these women, who rarely have a college education, navigate the extensive resources that the state of Iowa makes available on its websites. The thing about government is that it is inherently a bureaucracy. So, while making resources and information available electronically and therefore having them indexed and searchable is highly valuable, even once this process is complete, the end product can still be almost impenetrable in its complexity. As a result, there will still be a need for a professional human element to assist individuals when they go through an extraordinary, or even just infrequent, event in their lives that government is an essential part of.

Sandy Wang said...

It was just before Susana’s presentation that I visited the website of Chinese government for the first time. I think most Chinese have never been on our government website just like me. And I’m so surprised to see that there are so many interesting and useful informations on this website.

In general there are three kinds of information here.
The first one is propaganda information saying what our government is doing, such as diplomatic affairs and important conferences of the government.
The second kind of information is explanations of laws and statutes. There’s also a part for advise collection. People can give there own opinion on some of the statutes that is being drafted out. But here, we can only give our opinion by making a phone call, mailing, and email. That means we can not leave messages on the website.
The third part is the service area. It provides all kinds of information people need when them have to deal with government departments. There are links to websites of different apartments of the government which provide data inquiring and official form downloading. People can do some of the government affairs on-line with out going to the office, but there are only limited kinds of that, partly because there is not an efficient method for personal identification on the internet in China.

In my opinion, the biggest problem is the prevalence of using e-government in China is that people know little about e-government. How can people get the useful information on this website if they do not even know there is a website for this? Going to the government office is still the first choice for Chinese people.
So I think beside improving more e-government service and using efficient identification system more work should be done for commonweal advertising. And tell people what they can get on the government website.

Avril Adrianne de Guzman said...

I believe that E-Governance is a concept advanced as amazing by countries who already have it in place. The speed and ease of conducting government affairs on the Internet has been extolled by most developed countries. E-governance however, requires so much more than a .gov website.

In the Philippines, where less than 20% of households are wired, iimagining a paper-less bureaucracy is all but a dream. Conducting financial activities (paying bills, taxes, loans) online is virtually impossible. Most government websites in the country are transmission sites with little or no interaction with its audience apart from the contact us link which may not even contain an email address. Government websites offer much of what the agencies at the national level are doing but almost none about their local representatives. Thus, it is not difficult for Filipinos to think of the government as unreachable.

That is why before an effort to transform a paper government to an e-government is made, an assessment of the citizen's capability to employ the technology should be made. Aside from assessment, the infrastructure and the training should be on the to-do list also to make sure that access to .gov sites go beyond the upper and the upper middle class and trickle down to the masses who most need the services that the government provides. With the current situation of the digital 'chasm' in most developing countries, the e-government idea is will remain a beautiful but unattainable dream.