Academic journal article Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management

E-Government Adoption: The Challenge of Digital Divide Based on Jordanians' Perceptions

Academic journal article Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management

E-Government Adoption: The Challenge of Digital Divide Based on Jordanians' Perceptions

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

Governments all over the world are facing one major challenge in promoting e-government initiatives. They strive for reaching an acceptable level of adoption, where many factors play a role in making the accessibility of the Internet more difficult. Governments are encouraging their citizens to access and use their public services through the Internet. To successfully do that, the Internet should be available for all categories of people and businesses. Such view is related to the digital divide.

The adoption process of electronic systems is researched extensively, where many theories and models were proposed to understand this issue. The major obstacle that prevents citizens from adopting a technology is the availability of such technology. The digital divide is viewed by researchers from three major sides: the accessibility divide, the knowledge and skill divide, and the perceptions of citizens divide (Orbicom, 2005; Abu-Shanab, 2013). The continuous improvements in information and communication technologies (ICTs) is expected to increase the number of people who benefit from a wide range of services provided by governments through their e-government portals.

Governments try to reach citizens and civil society institutions through their open government initiatives. It is important to understand the role of e-government in society development, where governments try to provide their services in a convenient and accessible way. Reaching citizens is a tough job in a world of differences and diverse challenges.

E-government is defined in different ways based on different perspectives they represent (Almarabeh & AbuAli, 2010; Ndou, 2004, Abu-Shanab, 2013). But most researchers and specialists agreed that it is the utilization of ICTs to promote governance and improve services. In order to develop a successful egovernment initiatives, governments will face several challenges like the provision of required infrastructure, legal and political barriers, people's computer literacy and ICT use, the level of trust people have in government and its new way of performing activities, security problems, and the digital divide problem (Almarabeh & AbuAli, 2010; Abu-Shanab, 2012).

To better understand the issues mentioned earlier, this paper tries to explore people's perceptions towards the problem of digital divide utilizing an empirical test. A thorough literature review is conducted to understand the major dimensions of digital divide and its relation to e-government. The rest of the paper is divided into four sections: the first section reviews the literature related to e-government and digital divide. The second describes the ICT Jordanian environment. The third section describes the data and analysis conducted, where discussion of issues is elaborated. Finally, conclusion and future work is provided at the end.

2. LITERATURE REVIEW

The path to successful e-government project is to open channels with citizens and provide the necessary infrastructure. The major environmental factors influencing e-government success are: social, infrastructural and governmental (Abu-Shanab, 2012). It is important to make available for citizens the necessary level and capacity of infrastructure. Based on the obligations of governments to provide services to citizens in an efficient way, the digital divide can be a crucial challenge that prevents government from reaching each citizen and institution.

Good governance means that the governments play and make it easy to perform its roles in the executive, judicial and legislative areas. Governments play a major role in societies as the administration of government functions and the facilitation of the two other roles (Costake, 2008). Also, the digital divide will prevent people from participating and interacting with governments or exclude certain categories of the public from participating effectively in public activities (Pascual, 2003). …

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