E-government and accountability

How to mitigate the disorders and dysfunctions of accountability relationships

Tariq Al-Shbail, Aini Aman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: Electronic government (e-government) is perceived as an effective tool to enhance accountability in public organizations. However, e-government implementation to enhance accountability is still unclear and involves many complex processes because of the multiple accountabilities disorder. The e-government elements that contribute to mitigate the disorders and dysfunctions of accountability relationships are still underdeveloped in the current literature. This paper aims to provide understanding on how e-government enhances public organizations’ accountability by highlighting the key elements of e-government that mitigate the disorders and dysfunctions of accountability relationships. Design/methodology/approach: This study adopts a qualitative case study approach by using the case of Jordan Customs. Data were collected using a triangulation approach that involved semi-structured interviews, document reviews and observation. Findings: The findings revealed that the e-government elements that mitigate the disorders and dysfunctions of accountability relationships are classified into three contexts, namely, technological, environmental and organizational aspects. The technological elements include systems integration, single window and electronic connectivity. The environmental elements embrace public participation and partnership council. The organizational elements comprise having well-defined strategic plan and risk management approach. Research limitations/implications: This study contributes and gives further insight into how to address the confusion, fuzziness and dysfunctions in accountability relationships existing in the literature by providing several success elements that mitigate the problematic of disorder between accountability relationships in public organizations. The paper highlights the need to investigate further elements, particularly, in the organizational context, to assist public organizations in improving their performance to enhance accountability in their operations. Practical implications: This study provides guidelines for future e-government implementation strategy in public organizations, particularly, in the context of developing countries, as most of the recent studies of e-government in developing countries indicated that they are suffering from difficulty of managing e-government implementation to promote accountability successfully and are struggling with a lack of resources and experiences to handle this new trend of technology. Originality/value: This study is of a significant value, as it is one of the preliminary studies that empirically extend the accountability dimensions suggested by Koppell (2005) with the key success elements of e-government that enhance accountability proposed by Heeks (1998b) and other current literature. This paper enriches the body of literature by providing some new key success elements of e-government that enhance accountability in public organizations. It also contributes to the expansion of the boundaries of knowledge by adding further interpretation on how these elements reduce the existing confusions and dysfunctions in accountability relationships.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTransforming Government: People, Process and Policy
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 Jun 2018

Fingerprint

electronic government
responsibility
Developing countries
Triangulation
Risk management
Electronic government
Accountability
developing country
triangulation
Jordan
risk management
Public organizations
electronics
interpretation

Keywords

  • Accountability
  • E-government
  • Multiple accountabilities disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management

Cite this

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title = "E-government and accountability: How to mitigate the disorders and dysfunctions of accountability relationships",
abstract = "Purpose: Electronic government (e-government) is perceived as an effective tool to enhance accountability in public organizations. However, e-government implementation to enhance accountability is still unclear and involves many complex processes because of the multiple accountabilities disorder. The e-government elements that contribute to mitigate the disorders and dysfunctions of accountability relationships are still underdeveloped in the current literature. This paper aims to provide understanding on how e-government enhances public organizations’ accountability by highlighting the key elements of e-government that mitigate the disorders and dysfunctions of accountability relationships. Design/methodology/approach: This study adopts a qualitative case study approach by using the case of Jordan Customs. Data were collected using a triangulation approach that involved semi-structured interviews, document reviews and observation. Findings: The findings revealed that the e-government elements that mitigate the disorders and dysfunctions of accountability relationships are classified into three contexts, namely, technological, environmental and organizational aspects. The technological elements include systems integration, single window and electronic connectivity. The environmental elements embrace public participation and partnership council. The organizational elements comprise having well-defined strategic plan and risk management approach. Research limitations/implications: This study contributes and gives further insight into how to address the confusion, fuzziness and dysfunctions in accountability relationships existing in the literature by providing several success elements that mitigate the problematic of disorder between accountability relationships in public organizations. The paper highlights the need to investigate further elements, particularly, in the organizational context, to assist public organizations in improving their performance to enhance accountability in their operations. Practical implications: This study provides guidelines for future e-government implementation strategy in public organizations, particularly, in the context of developing countries, as most of the recent studies of e-government in developing countries indicated that they are suffering from difficulty of managing e-government implementation to promote accountability successfully and are struggling with a lack of resources and experiences to handle this new trend of technology. Originality/value: This study is of a significant value, as it is one of the preliminary studies that empirically extend the accountability dimensions suggested by Koppell (2005) with the key success elements of e-government that enhance accountability proposed by Heeks (1998b) and other current literature. This paper enriches the body of literature by providing some new key success elements of e-government that enhance accountability in public organizations. It also contributes to the expansion of the boundaries of knowledge by adding further interpretation on how these elements reduce the existing confusions and dysfunctions in accountability relationships.",
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