Towards t-Government: An Interoperability Model for e-Government in Saudi Arabia

Author: Sameer Shetewi

Shetewi, Sameer, 2016 Towards t-Government: An Interoperability Model for e-Government in Saudi Arabia, Flinders University, School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics

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Governments around the world have invested significant sums of money on e-Government to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of services provided to their citizens. Accordingly, identifying the structural changes and greater benefits has increased government interest in shifting from the original concept of e-Government. This shift has been towards a more transformational approach that encompasses the entire relationship between different government organisations and users of public services, to a new stage of e-Government that can be termed ‘transformational government’ or t-Government. However, governments have not achieved their desired results due the lack of interoperability between different government entities. Interoperability refers to the ability to exchange information across organisational borders. It relates to technology as well as business aspects. t-Government implementation requires a high level of interoperability between government organisations. A strong need exists for coordination regarding the way in which interoperability is implemented, and governments are still very far from having a comprehensive set of interoperability frameworks or models. Therefore, this research attempts to develop a model that explores and investigates the key factors influencing e-Government interoperability and the consequent implementation of t-Government in the Saudi Arabian context. This model will examine these factors from four key areas—technological, organisational, political and social—using institutional theory as a lens.

To achieve the research’s aims, an exploratory study consisting of two phases (first, qualitative [interviews and documentation] and second, quantitative [survey]) validated and tested this model empirically. Thematic analysis was conducted through interviews with e-Government officials and top managers, with documentation analysis refining this model. Structural equation modelling was then used to analyse the questionnaire (survey) distributed to information and communication technology and e-Government specialists to test this model. The qualitative and quantitative findings were triangulated to investigate the factors influencing interoperability for t-Government implementation.

The empirical results reveal that technological compatibility, organisational compatibility, governance readiness, citizen centricity and the e-Government program (Yesser) have a positive impact on the level of interoperability required for t-Government implementation in this particular context. A direct and positive impact from the e-Government program (Yesser) is also evident on technological compatibility, along with an impact of citizen centricity on the e-Government program (Yesser). Unexpectedly, the results indicate that the e-Government program (Yesser) does not affect organisational compatibility and governance readiness. Moreover, the results show that organisation size and the number of government-to-government (G2G) services as moderating factors are not supported in this research sample.

This thesis contributes to e-Government research through generating numerous implications for theorists and practitioners, especially for governments seeking to create interoperability between organisations and to implement t-Government.

Keywords: t-Government, e-Government, interoperability

Subject: Computer Science thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2016
School: School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics
Supervisor: Dr. Robert Goodwin