Towards successful e-government initiatives: exploring the adaptation strategies of public sector middle managers
University College Cork
Over the last two decades, research on the adoption and technology acceptance of new information systems by users has provided very valuable insights. Most of this research has focused on the impact on citizens in a bid to measure improvements in the quality and speed of the services provided. However, there is still a lack of understanding of internal users' reactions to new information systems and, in particular, new e-government practices. In light of this deficit, this research draws on the coping model of user adaption “CMUA” (Beaudry & Pinsonneault, 2005) to make a qualitative examination of the adaptation strategies of middle managers in public bodies when new e-government initiatives are implemented in their workplace, focusing particularly on Saudi Arabia. The public bodies considered in this research are: (i) the Commercial Register Office of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry; (ii) the Department of Corporate Services, also in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry; (iii) the Recruitment Department of the Ministry of Labour; and (iv) the Passport Department of the General Directorate of Passports. Nineteen semi-structured interviews were conducted in the four public bodies referred to above to collect the data for this research. Each of the interview was analysed separately (individual level). Within-case analysis was then conducted to analyse each case study separately (at the group level). After that, cross-case analysis was conducted to analyse all the cases together (organisations level). The analysis of the case studies reveals that there is a strong relationship between the adaptation strategies followed and the success or otherwise of the adoption of the new systems in all four cases. In each case, several new elements were identified. This study contributes to theory and practice. It contributes to theory by taking the framework (i.e., the CMUA) well beyond the scope for which it was designed. The framework was originally designed to examine users’ adaptation strategies (at the individual level). This study applied the framework to evaluate the impact of adaptation strategies on the success of new systems recently implemented in the public sector, particularly e-government initiatives, by analysing at the group level. This study also contributes to theory by analysing the situation prior to the primary assessment stage of the framework, allowing us now to understand factors that might affect that initial assessment furthermore. This study contributes to theory by expanding the original CMUA framework, particularly in the outcomes column (i.e., the new outcome: seeking more enhancement,). From practice perspective, this study contributes to practice by offering five lessons to public organisations and top management that are intended to help increase the level of success of newly implemented e-government systems. First lesson is that top management and organisations should choose middle managers who have modern education and have experience of dealing with IT tools to increase the positive outcomes of the implementation of a new electronic system. The second lesson is that organisations should think seriously about designing fully automated systems that do not require interventions from the employees this will increase the possibility of initially assessing a new system positively, which will, ultimately, impact positively on the implementation outcomes. The third lesson is that organisations must mitigate against the reduction of power which some of the middle managers may experience with new IS implementations. This was a significant reason that let them escaped from the new electronic systems and didn’t want to engage positively. The fourth lesson is that providing demonstration versions of new electronic systems was found so helpful to reap the most benefit that the new systems could offer. Finally, top management and organisations should encourage the exchange of knowledge between employees about how to use new electronic systems and the benefits these systems provide. Overall, this research is proposed to help top management and public organisations to support internal system users, particularly middle managers in the public sector, in order to avoid undesirable behaviours and hence manage these internal users more effectively. Overall, the researcher believes that studying internal users' adaptation strategies when they face a new IT event is beneficial because these strategies influence the extent to which benefits arise from new electronic services provided by governments.
E-government , Adaptation strategies , Coping model of user adaptation , Middle managers
Binsaif, N. 2018. Towards successful e-government initiatives: exploring the adaptation strategies of public sector middle managers. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.