Academic journal article The Journal of Research in Business Education

Characteristics and Effectiveness of the U.S. State E-Government - to - Business Services

Academic journal article The Journal of Research in Business Education

Characteristics and Effectiveness of the U.S. State E-Government - to - Business Services

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study examined the user-interface characteristics and effectiveness of the e-government-to-business (G2B) sites of the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. A group of 306 online users were trained to assess the sites. The findings indicate that the majority of the state G2B sites included the user-interface characteristics that provided online users with positive experiences when visiting the sites. The e-services of (a) business licenses, permits, and regulations, (b) business taxes and reporting, (c) doing business with the state, (d) employment and workforce information, and (e) how to start a new business were available on most G2B sites with effective informational, interactive, transactional, and intelligent capacities. However, the study also identified some weaknesses that caused negative experience to online users. The findings of the study provide business and technology educators with the information they need to keep their e-business and Web design curricula current.

Introduction

Government Web sites or e-government sites have evolved from the pure information-sharing phase to interactive, transactional, intelligent or integration phases to better serve their constituencies. Now many states and nations view e-government as an enabler for economic competitiveness and growth. For example, while the European Commission referred to e-government as a key element of Europe's competitiveness agenda (European Communities, 2005), the U.S. federal government committed to expand e-government to be the best one in the world (Executive Office of the President of USA, 2004). Chevallerau's study (2005) identified that e-government provides its users and government agencies with seven tangible benefits: (a) improved quality of information supply, (b) reduced work-process time, (c) fewer administrative burdens, (d) reduced operational cost, (e) improved service level, (f) increased work efficiency, and (g) increased customer satisfaction.

E-governmentincludesawiderangeofWeb-based services such as e-governmentto-business (G2B), e-government-to-citizens (G2C), e-government-to-education (G2Ed), and e-government-to-healthcare (G2H). An e-government study indicated that, of all the e-government services, the G2B sites were clearly hyperlinked on the e-government homepage by most (94%) of the state governments in the U.S. (Zhao, Truell, Alexander, & Davis, 2006). State government officials (e.g., Brush, 2007; State of Nebraska, 2001) claimed that their G2B sites play a strategic role in enabling businesses to easily find the information or service they need and to complete business transactions electronically, thereby strengthening the state economic competitiveness and growth. However, no empirical study in the literature has been documented to determine the user-interface characteristics of all the U.S. state G2B Web sites and to evaluate the effectiveness of their G2B services. This research gap suggests a need for an empirical study.

Problem and Purpose of the Study

The problem addressed in this study was to identify the user-interface characteristics of the U.S. state G2B sites and to evaluate the effectiveness of their G2B services to online users. To solve the problem, we raised three research questions: (a) What are the user-interface characteristics of state G2B homepages? (b) What types of state G2B services are available to online users? And (c) how effective are the state G2B services to online users?

The primary purpose of the study is to advance the knowledge base of the G2B development in the e-government discipline. Second, the findings of the study provide business and technology educators with the information they need to keep their e-business and Web design curricula current. Finally, the findings also serve as benchmarks for e-government Web developers to design and develop highquality G2B sites.

Methodology

The population of this study was the official G2B sites of the 50 U. …

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