Academic journal article Journal of Economic and Social Development

Citizens as Consumers: Profiling E-Government Services' Users in Egypt Via Data Mining Techniques

Academic journal article Journal of Economic and Social Development

Citizens as Consumers: Profiling E-Government Services' Users in Egypt Via Data Mining Techniques

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

One of the most intractable problems for anyone dealing with government is the sheer complexity of its organizational structure. For example, it has been estimated that the average government has between 50 and 70 different departments, agencies and regulatory bodies (Silcock, 2001). A number of government's different agencies may be involved in simple matters such as registering the birth of a child. In several countries there has been a growing pressure for governments to move online. In the Arab world, Dubai pioneered evoting in elections for half the members of the United Arab Emirates' consultative assembly (The Economist, 2008). In Bahrain the e-government authority of Bahrain (E-GA) has recently launched the Enterprise Architecture Project initiative (EAP), which is considered to be the first of its kind in the Arab world. The initiative aims at streamlining government procedures by unifying the standards and procedures among all government entities in all matters related to information communication technology (Bahrain Tribune, 2009). Finally, in Egypt e-government currently provides 85 services to citizens including government forms, public policy information and tax filing (Hamed, 2008). Two main reasons are behind governments' decision to move online. First, a more enlightened view has begun in the ranks of government to treat the citizen like a consumer where transaction satisfaction is important. Second, pressures for governments to do more with less will force governments to provide services in a more efficient way. In fact, e-government offers substantial performance gains over the traditional model of government. For example, based on the analysis of 49 empirical studies, Danziger and Andersen (2002) concluded that there were positive egovernment impacts on data access and efficiency and productivity of government performance in both internal operations and external service functions. In fact it has been argued that a significant portion of the benefits created by e-government services are obtained by the government itself in terms of efficiency gains (Tung and Rieck, 2005). For example, the U.S. government generates around US$ 3 billion on its Web site (Clark, 2003).

Profiling e-government services users is very important because the first step in planning the target marketing strategy is to segment the market and develop profiles of the resulting market segments. In fact, the usefulness of market segmentation hinges upon accurate profiling.

2. Literature review and hypotheses development

2.1. Perceived usefulness

The perceived benefit factor is closely related to perceived usefulness in the TAM theoretical model. Raman and Leckenby (1998) used the concept of utilitarianism to explain online behavior. They found a positive link between utilitarianism and duration of visit of web ads. This construct, too, seems to be closely related to perceived usefulness identified in TAM. Rogers (1995), in his diffusion of innovation paradigm, also posits that the perceived benefit or relative advantage of innovation positively influences adoption rate. In a meta-analysis in the innovation research literature, Tornatzky and Klein (1982) concluded that relative advantage was positively related to adoption. In a similar vein, King and He (2006), in a meta-analysis of the TAM, found a strong positive link between perceived usefulness and behavioral intention (β = 0.505). It follows that

H1: perceived usefulness of e-government services positively influences users' intention to use these services.

2.2. Perceived ease of use

Perceived ease of adoption can affect adoption behavior since an innovation that is easy to use can considerably reduce the time and effort required by the user and, thus, increase the likelihood of adopting the technology. Most studies on technology acceptance showed that perceived ease of use directly influenced attitude towards use (e.g., Ahn et al. …

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