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Introduction. 2

The goals of e-government. 4

Benefits of e-government. 6

The relationship between e-government and the digital environment. 8

Stages of e-government transformation. 9

The requirements for building e-government. 11

The experience of the e-Government in Dubai 12

Conclusion. 13

References. 14


E-government is the utilization of information and communications technology in improving various government processes. The proliferation of e-government can be traced to the use of computers, whereby governments were the first institutions to use these gadgets of technology. The recent development of global internet communications has led to the creation of open standards, thereby creating new opportunities in the way tasks relating to public administration and management are carried out.


            To some people, e-government is simply an effort to expand the e-commerce market from the level of business to the level of government. However, e-commerce does not exist at the heart of e-government. The main role of the government is governance. E-government is about the improvement of work in all branches of government and not merely in the narrow area of public administration.

E-government gives fresh blood to New Public Management, a type of management theory relating to how governments are reformed through the replacement of rigid hierarchical organizational structures with networks of small organizational units, which are more dynamic and less authoritarian (Heeks, 2006). The new theory also replaces top-down policymaking and decision-making practices with a customer-oriented attitude towards the provision of public services. In order for this to happen effectively, market principles are applied in order to enhance productivity and efficiency.

            Information and communications technology is a crucial source of software and infrastructure tools that are required for the existing network of various government units to continue collaborating in an effective manner (Welch, 2005). When the technology infiltrates into different government agencies, this naturally leads to institutional reforms. These networks tend to be loosely interlinked when they are maintained via e-governance since it is utterly difficult to maintain hierarchical communication channels as well as control whereby each civil servant has the ability to collaborate directly and effectively with any person on the internet.

            E-government is not just primarily about the reformation of work processes within governmental institutions. Rather, it is about the improvement of services and collaboration with citizens, the professional community, non-governmental bodies and businesses. World Wide Web portals are used in e-government to create many one-stop shops through which public services are delivered to the public with ease. The main idea behind these popular portals is the provision of a single place that can be used conveniently to handle all administrative processes that involve multiple government offices. This brings these services closer to the citizen instead of the citizen having to run from one office to the other in search of them.

            Web portals can be used to deliver many government services that require different levels of interaction. The three most commonly identified levels include communication, information and transactions. Information services are always aimed at delivering government information through static web pages as well as pages derived from databases. This information is of utmost importance to businesses, citizens, tourists, public administration, associations and various government users (Warkentin, 2002).

            Communication services utilize groupware technology in the form of discussion forums, e-mail, and chat in order to facilitate participation, dialogue and feedback use to play and make policy procedures (Ho, 2002). Transaction services, on the other hand, make use of online forms, payment and workflow systems in order to allow business partners and citizens to take good care of all their businesses in line with the government’s requirements. The applications may be in the form of tax returns forms, social benefits applications, registration of automobiles, filing address changes and application for building permits. For businesses, it seems that the greatest current interest entails the procurement of government contracts online.

The three levels of interaction in e-government are often ordered in terms of complexity, whereby transactions are the most complex. This scenario arises out of the fact that issues relating to business security and processes have to be reengineered in line with the requirements of online transaction processing. However, the provision of high-quality information and communications services is also quite challenging. Information services, for instance, have to evolve into knowledge management tasks, which are adaptive, proactive, personalized and accessible through a broad range of technological devices that are available in the market.

The goals of e-government

The main goal of e-government is to increase efficiency in the way the government of the day carries out its administrative tasks. The operations of any government today tend to be assessed in terms of adherence to the tenets of democracy. E-government facilitates the process of e-democracy, mainly through the application of ICT in improving the formation process of public opinion. In every democracy, public opinion is always central to the success of the regulatory function of the government. E-government is always geared towards broadening of actual public participation, rather than just the technical possibilities (Fang, 2002). It ought to be an effective counter political apathy tool that does not disenfranchise those who do not have ICT knowledge.

            The goals of e-government go beyond merely making government processes more efficient. It entails the accomplishment of a wide array of goals that relate to the citizens’ wellbeing. First, e-government is a key instrument of achieving the goal of a better business environment. Technology is undoubtedly a proven catalyst for increasing economic growth and productivity, particularly in rural areas and in marginalized sections of the community. Through the use of ICT, governments aim to establish an e-government infrastructure that facilitates the creation of a business-friendly environment (West, 2004). In such an environment, interactions are streamlined through the improvement of the government-business interface, particularly in the SME sub-sector.

Secondly, it is the goal of e-government to ensure that public goods and services are delivered to the citizens using a quick response approach, whereby, the direct intervention of a public official is always kept to the barest minimum. Thirdly, it is the goal of e-government to strengthen good governance as well as broaden public participation. The proliferation of ICT in the government’s management processes should be accompanied by increased levels of accountability and transparency. This transparency should open up opportunities for all citizens as they engage more openly in decisions on different policies of the government.

The third goal of e-government is to improve practices relating to good governance and public participation, particularly in the fight against corruption. However, it is virtually impossible for e-government to end corruption by itself. Other public administrative mechanisms have to be incorporated into the technology-based platforms in order for the fight against corruption to be won. Through swift dissemination of complete information, citizens can feel empowered to participate in the decision-making processes at all levels of governance. The transformation in the provision of information to the public promotes democracy, instills a sense of accountability, and compels public officials to be effective in their use of different governance channels.

The goal of efficiency can be demonstrated through reference to the use of e-governance in the Philippines, specifically at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Prior to the introduction of e-governance, many complaints were being raised because it took someone three days (if not more) to get an NBI clearance. NBI clearance is always required when one is applying for passports, employment, licensure examinations, and visas. At any given time, there are about 30,000 citizens who are waiting to be cleared by the NBI at the institution’s headquarters. Today, thanks to e-government, one can renew his clearance in as few as five minutes from many NBI kiosks. This increase in efficiency has resulted in many benefits including doubling of revenues, reduction of graft and corruption, expansion of the public service and decongestion of NBI’s main compound.

Benefits of e-government

E-government is beneficial to the citizens, to businesses and to the state. To citizens, the benefits include increased convenience, better customer service and ease of information access. Citizens can get many government services online instead of queuing at different government headquarters.

            Today, all people want to have as many services as possible online. No one is comfortable with the idea of waiting in a line for hours or several minutes at the government counter. People can save a lot of time and energy by accessing different government services on the internet. People are able to do business at a convenient time, wherever they want.

            E-government also means better customer services to the people. The best e-government customer service is one whereby one does not require any assistance, particularly with routine transactions. One does not have to get explanations on complex policies or get his English translated in case he does not speak it well enough.

Within this approach, more information is accessible than ever before. People get much more information from their government than they thought was possible. For instance, someone who is looking for a house does not need to launch a ground search within an estate. This information is made available by the government 24 hours a day all year round. Moreover, use of the internet makes the process of finding information easy and fun, particularly those types of information that is accessible to regular users using the standard feel of a web page such as contacts and frequently asked questions.

            For businesses, the main benefit is a reduction in costs. Business owners do not have to send their employees to government offices, where they have to stand in line for a long time. Therefore, there is no lost productivity and employees work more productively within the comfort of their business premises. Moreover, most companies already have access to the internet. Therefore, they do not have to incur additional computer hardware and software costs in order to create compatibility with e-government platforms.

            The state has a lot to benefit from e-government. When costs are decreased, the revenue savings are directed towards other areas of public service delivery. These saved costs are often more than enough for use in the creation of a content management tool. The savings can also be used to cover costs relating to the creation of frequent changes on the web pages.

            E-government is the best way of consolidating the government hardware and software need for the creation and maintenance of a federal-level ICT presence. This comes with many advantages, including efficiency, enlightenment and convenience. The government gets the ability to handle automated paper processing mechanisms without any risk of clerical errors. This translates into better services for citizens.

The relationship between e-government and digital environment

In the modern era, e-government operates on a digital environment (Abramson, 2001). The digital environment entails mainly the use of electronic document management and information transmission systems. Digital data is used in different administrative and commercial services within the government. It is widely expected that in the years to come, digital data will become generalized, thereby phasing out paper-based approaches to information processing completely. Obviously, though, it is impossible for paperwork to disappear completely but paper will stop being a core aspect of a government’s document management system.

            Today, e-government output systems are increasingly being integrated into digital systems. Digital information is increasingly being managed and transmitted using the latest ICT tools. This is an undeniable trend whereby multimedia-based information is shared with ease. This tendency becomes a common feature in many advanced administrative environments, such as in the insurance and banking sectors. However, they are less visible in other areas of government administration such the courts of justice and parliament.

            However, the process of creating a digital environment has been many critics and skeptics. Many people tend to fall back on papers whenever crucial information such as ground-breaking contracts and decisive administrative documents. The main reason for this reluctance is lack of security in the use of different digital platforms online. Highly rapid changes are taking place in computer software and hardware development and the skeptics find it difficult to keep abreast with the digital adjustments required for emerging security concerns to be addressed.

            For policy implementers in e-government, a key challenge relating to the use of a digital environment entails guaranteeing that all the electronic documents that are being stored today will be easily readable by computer programs of the future (Seifert, 2003). Therefore, the possibility of transforming digital archives from one format to the other is a key consideration for e-government policy implementers.

            Every government has to contend with the challenging of handling crucial information that has been digitized, which can be altered, resulting in severe repercussions in federal policy implementation strategies. Professional digital archivists are still not in agreement on the best possible solutions for solving this problem (Layne, 2001).

The main solution that has been suggested in the use of digital information in e-government is known as emulation strategy (Kaylor, 2001). This suggestion entails the guaranteeing of usability of the government’s electronic data over a long period through storing it in their original formats. In this regard, measures need to be taken in ensuring that the necessary software and hardware environment changes can be made in the future as the need arises.

Moreover, digital signatures are commonly used in e-government in order to allow authentication of electronic information. The electronic information is authenticated in such a way that the originator can be identified and the authenticity of the information verified. A secret cryptography key is required for digital signatures to be used. The signatory of the key has to keep it private at all times. The only way of verifying the key is associating it with the author’s public key.

Stages of e-government transformation

Recent literature indicates that experiences on e-government indicate the presence of chaotic approaches and instances of unmanageability (Carter, 2005). This appears to be happening in spite of recent numerous initiatives on e-government. These initiatives have been fast-tracked through various levels of government as well as practitioners and academic conferences.

Public administrators are faced with many challenges in the process of bringing about transformation in e-government. Layne (2001) proposes the synthesis of a ‘stage of growth’ framework for functional e-government. Such a model ought to contain different stages that clearly outline the necessary multi-perspective transformation in government structures. It should also highlight the key government functions and structures needed in the transition towards e-government in each stage. Various organizational and technological challenges encountered at each stage should be overtly described.

During the pre-implementation phase of e-government, changes in government processes are required, whereby an overhaul of solutions to development is carried out (Moon, 2002). In this stage, focus should be on the economic benefits of improving the effectiveness in the way services are provided. The stage also takes the form of response by the government to public demand for democratic participation, quality, transparency and accountability in service delivery.

The implementation stage is marked by e-government readiness, whereby key factors are understood. During this stage, there is a need for strategic goals, vision and priorities to be set and clearly defined. A facilitative environment is required, whereby a thorough analysis of the planned course of action is carried out to determine a country’s level of e-readiness. Through such an approach, it becomes easy for a government to accurately determine the country’s opportunities, challenges, strengths and weaknesses.

During the evaluation stage, it is not possible to derive cross-border uniformity in the measures taken in order to assess the efficiency of the fully-functional e-government. However, the concept of e-readiness can be used to determine the specific actions that can be taken in order to improve the environments within which e-government programs are carried out. Such an assessment should take the place of a single positive or negative answer to questions to questions of technological compatibility.

The requirements for building an e-government

The first requirement in building e-government is a regulatory framework. This framework ensures that there are secure information exchanges within the government and between different governments. The exchanges should also be extended to cover the citizens with regard to the creation of the ideal economic conditions in terms of security standards, privacy legislation, the efficiency of ICT infrastructures and the validity of online transactions.

            Secondly, organizational conditions have to be in place, whereby evolutionary changes need to be made to the existing institutional arrangements. This transformation should be guided through appropriate coordination and management of administrative structures and legacies. Other areas of organizational overhaul include civil service, policy coordination, inter-government relations and central coordination.

The third requirement is in the form of human resources and cultural conditions. These conditions include the adoption of knowledge, positive attitudes and the necessary skills that are needed within the public sector. These changes should be made in such a way that the resulting e-government can be initiated, implemented and sustained in the best possible manner. Cultural aspects may be a major cause of general reluctance towards the adoption of changes in the way information is shared on the internet. This resistance, too, should be overcome, mainly through ensuring that issues such as gender inequality, IT literacy, adaptability to change and education levels are addressed in the right manner. Other crucial considerations include financial conditions and communication environment.

The experience of the e-Government in Dubai

The journey towards the adoption of e-government in Dubai started as early as the year 2000 when the e-government initiative was officially announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president. Prior to this initiative, the Dubai government used to provide its services using traditional means. Individuals and businesses were required to apply for various government services through compilation and submission of a set of documents to a single or multiple government departments. This resulted in persistent delays and rampant dissatisfaction by citizens.

            The concept of e-government was conceived against the backdrop of a felt need for Dubai to become a leading business hub. It is for this same reason that the Dubai government embarked on efforts to leverage on ICT infrastructure with the aim of simplifying its services and regulations. For this reason, a major strategic initiative dubbed ‘Dubai e-government was hatched in 2000. Its mission was to achieve a virtual government, whereby high-quality e-services would be provided to individuals, businesses as well as government departments. At the beginning, the target was to ensure that 70% of all services offered by the government were available using e-portals.


            In terms of the implementation framework, the main areas of focus for the Dubai government were ICT infrastructure, e-government promotion, e-government infrastructure, and information content. The ICT infrastructure was created in the form of the Government Information Network (GIN), a centralized systems whereby initial steps were made towards IT strategy planning by the government. The network linked different government departments together. By 2005, the GIN network comprised of thirty five members, including government departments and many other public institutions that participated in the e-government initiative.

The stages of creating e-government in Dubai can be summarized as follows. First came the emergence stage, whereby an online presence was established. The next stage was enhancement, whereby government sites were increased. The interactivity stage followed, whereby users could download forms. The fourth stage was transactional stage, whereby uses could pay for services online. The fifth stage was about seamlessness, whereby e-services were fully integrated across administrative boundaries (Sethi & Sethi, 2008).


E-government makes it easy for the government to provide quality, citizen-oriented services in the information age. There are many challenges that come with the implementation of an e-government plan. There is need for a well thought-out plan in order for an e-government initiative to succeed. A good example of a well-planned e-government plan is that of Dubai.


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