E-government implementation for inter-organisational information sharing: a holistic information systems approach for developing countries

2019-10-28T12:24:50Z (GMT) by Ephias Ruhode
Governments throughout the world are increasingly under pressure to transform in response to rapid changes in the global economy. They are faced with new and challenging situations as the social world, the economy, demography and technology keep changing. While literature reports some degree of success towards e-government implementation in the developed world, there is lack of empirical research on successes of e-government and information sharing practices of government agencies in developing countries. Designers of e-government solutions in all countries face challenges that are unique to their specific sociocultural, economic, geographic, environmental, political, and technical context. However, the peculiarity of e-government challenges is more evident in developing countries than in developed ones. This research is motivated by the need to investigate an e-government phenomenon in a developing country context like Zimbabwe which is characterised by complex dynamics rooted in politics, economy and social setting. Emphasis is placed on the political nature and the complex institutional environments in which e-government develops and recognition is given to the key concepts of e-government which involve the technological and social aspects. This study has been scoped empirically to explore e-government implementation efforts at government level then a case study of the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality’s e-Administration dimension of e-government, with focus on information sharing. Tourism is an example that e-government’s parameters do not stop at the boundaries of the public sector. The research first conducted a document study of all policies and programmes initiated by the government of Zimbabwe towards public sector modernisation using ICTs. Secondly, in order to identify the status of e-government and information sharing as well as government’s vision in the same, interviews were conducted with the Ministry of ICT’s administration. Thirdly, a case study of the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality was conducted to establish the extent and tools of information sharing between the ministry and other line ministries, departments and other institutions nationally and internationally. Data from the case were analysed using the Activity-Driven Needs Analysis (ADNA). Research findings from all activities have been discussed and further developed in two solutions-oriented focus group meetings with senior managers at both ministries of ICT and tourism in the area of cross-government information sharing, and in feedback sessions with research participants. Literature review, analysis of ICT policy documents and case study analysis were insights which underpinned the development of an e-government framework for developing countries. The emphasis of the framework is for e-government designers to place importance on political and institutional factors ahead of any other determinant. Consistent with ADNA and the critical realist perspective, the aim is not to influence these political and institutional factors, but to understand their modus operandi and hence to construct an e-government solution which recognizes the dictates of all stakeholders.