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Public Sector Employee Perspective towards Adoption of E-Government in Pakistan: A Proposed Research Agenda

Published Online: 20 Nov 2020
Page range: 119 - 124
Received: 15 Aug 2020
Accepted: 15 Sep 2020
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
30 Mar 2017
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English

Governments across the globe are continually working to improve infrastructure for their people. Today, the precise and accurate understanding of the factors that significantly affect public sector employees is one of the utmost crucial challenges for the adoption of e-government services in Pakistan. Without adequate knowledge of these factors, the level of welcome to new services or technology would not be predictable. The study targets employees in the public sector who provide e-government services in Pakistan. On a theoretical basis, Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) examined the effect of ease of use on attitudes, perceived usefulness, and trust and its effect on the public sector employees intent to adopt an e-government system. This research aimed to identify the factors that influence the adoption of e-government services by public sector employees in Pakistan. Data for this survey can be obtained from public sector employees in Pakistan. The results of this study are projected to show that the proposed framework is useful in evaluating the adoption of the e-government system in public sector employees and that the expanding new factor, trust, and attitude in this model are of essential importance.

Keywords

Introduction

In recent years, governments across the world has shown a growing interest in shaping the public sector using Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) to provide services to their residents and other stakeholders. The United Nations named this process as “e-government” (Samijadi, 2017). Governments in developing and developed countries are engaging more and more in using ICTs as a mediator to resolve citizens’ concerns regarding increased accountability, corporate responsibility, and interaction between government organizations and people to access information (G. F. Khan, 2015).

A wide variety of modern technologies have been developed by various businesses (Hasibuan & Syahrial, 2019). In the present state of COVID-19, where the majority of businesses are affected, employees and citizens are motivated or compelled to do business from home, and the demand for proper technology is growing (Yue et al., 2020). This pandemic encounter is a global transformative event that had intensified the need for complete online work. Although there is an increasing need for intelligent systems, including e-government, e-banking, e-commerce, and other digital systems, the present outbreak has increased the importance of web and automation modes (Sepasgozar, Ramzani, Ebrahimzadeh, Sargolzae, & Sepasgozar, 2020; Twizeyimana & Andersson, 2019). Nonetheless, information system conduct must be investigated in various contexts, and researchers analyze technology adoption from different perspectives (Hasibuan & Syahrial, 2019; Sepasgozar et al., 2020).

TAM was developed on the basis of the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) (Davis, 1989). This model, considered as one of the most exquisite models in research to describe e-gov adoption by Carter and Bélanger (2005), suggests that trust, attitude, and Perceived usefulness PU are unwaveringly influenced in the intent to adopt e-gov. The significance of this study is the impact of public sector employees in Pakistan who had seldom studied or had been exposed to such studies before this pandemic. Since this pandemic, most businesses are affected, and hence the needs for complete online work and e-gov systems have increased. This proposed conceptual model directly affects factors such as PU, attitude, and trust thereby enhancing efficiency, reducing corruption, and increasing transparency in the public sector framework. As an underdeveloped region, Pakistan and its infrastructure are not very well established. No research has been found on the adoption of e-gov among employees in Pakistan's public sector. This theoretical model is useful for addressing the need and interpreting the influences of e-gov adoption among public sector employees in Pakistan. The importance of using new technology like e-gov in the public sector seems to be apparent to everyone, but what is less found in our country is adoption and implementation against e-government in the public sector and quitting traditional ones.

Theoretical Background

A revolution in ICT has been witnessed in recent years. This transition has prompted more and more improvements in everyday life around the globe. It has transformed the way governments throughout the world connect with their people, government departments, businesses, stakeholders, and all other employees. These modifications are often stated as e-gov (Sang & Lee, 2009).

E-government

The word “e-government” means electronic government. Though, digital, online, internet, and the connected government have also been identified and used synonymously in the literature (Grönlund, 2004). The UN describes e-government as the use of the internet and the world wide web to provide government information and public services for people (Unpan, 2002). The World Bank views e-gov as the use of ICTs by the government authorities capable of transforming ties with branches of government, citizens, and other businesses (Khalil et al., 2002). e-Gov is the adoption of ICTs by the government to provide facilities to government authorities, businesses, and citizens (Shah & Lim, 2011). The transition from traditional public services to e-gov allowed governments to improve management efficiency, increase transparency, make information easy to access, and provide efficient services (Kayani, Haq, Perwez, & Humayun, 2011). The distinguished e-gov scholars argue that e-gov adoption will give a nation the following benefits (Hassan & Lee, 2015):

Improve the Efficiency

Cost Minimization and Maximum Output

Increase Transparency level

Accountability

Standards and Policy Enforcement

Quick Delivery

Reduce of Corruption

Improved Public Connections

To Exchange and Share All Information

Barriers to E-government in Pakistan

The Government of Pakistan's very first web portal was launched in 2005 by the Department of Science and Technology, Electronic Government Directorate (EGD). Pakistan's e-Gov Directorate (EGD) was formed as an IT ministry unit, explicitly focusing on e-gov. Governments are aiming at greater transparency and accountability in policy-making, increasing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the provision of public services to people (S. Khan, Rahim, & Maarop, 2018)

However, the e-govt projects could not be successfully implemented in Pakistan, given these critical initiatives. Pakistan thus placed 153rd in the e-government list compared to its neighboring countries, China (45th), Iran (89th), and India (100th) as well as Bangladesh (119th) (E. S. UNPAN, 2020). Pakistan is a developing country that is advancing owing to the CPEC economy, as many countries invest and assist Pakistan in improving its infrastructure. Simultaneously, it faces challenges in developing its ICTs infrastructure and in establishing a framework for educating its large population (Hassan, Madad, Das, Akhtar, Jehan, & Research, 2019).

Pakistan also faces several challenges in implementing e-gov projects in the country, like any other developing country (Khan et al., 2018). In the e-gov sector, failure is defined as incapability in attaining its objectives. Government IT programs in developing countries collapse because of an absence of an internal political will, political dominance, poor management, overall vision, lack of skills, and insufficient technological infrastructure (Kayani et al., 2011). Despite a lot of support in implementing e-gov, numerous challenges need to be tackled. In many countries around the world, particularly in developing countries, e-gov fails. The challenges and impediments to Pakistan's e-gov adoption process are as follows (Kayani et al., 2011):

Inadequate expertise and human resources

Abilities and skills deficiencies among senior officials

Economic crisis and lack of legitimacy

Accessibility and ICTs infrastructure at low levels

Delicate interdepartmental coordination

Official and legal recognition of electronic documents

The lack of cooperation and interaction among the various departments

Internal disputes and external challenges

Insufficient access to the Internet in remote areas

Conservative-minded bureaucracy and red-tapism

Instability of political system and corruption

Scarcity of people in using technologies

Inadequate allocation of resources

Awareness about applying and the significance of e-gov

Insufficient understanding of the benefits of e-gov

Technology Acceptance Model (TAM)

TAM is the foundation for the adoption of technology models and is used in various fields. Most articles also attempt to evaluate the aspects of technological adoption from the users’ point of view in distinct environments. The findings of specific articles show that the factors impacting technology adoption in diverse organizations are not similar, and the TAMs should always be updated (Rana, Dwivedi, Williams, & Weerakkody, 2015; Sepasgozar, Hawken, Sargolzaei, & Foroozanfa, 2019). TAM is essential in describing and predicting the adoption of e-gov and numerous adoptions of other technologies. As a result, many scholars send TAM to consider adoption through e-government (Rana et al., 2015; Roy, Chartier, Crête, & Poulin, 2015). However, inadequate studies are showing that public sector employees in Pakistan are appropriate. Recently, in some studies, e-gov adoption of Tunisian citizens (Nasri, 2019), Mehr bank employees in Iran (Sepasgozar et al., 2020), and Malaysian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been identified as influential factors by using a TAM model (Soong, Ahmed, & Tan, 2020).

Hypotheses and Proposed Model
Proposed Conceptual Model

Based on prior related research, an interconnected conceptual framework is developed and presented. This integrative approach is intended to provide a full insight into the factors impacting e-gov adoption by public sector employees in Pakistan. It consolidates Pakistan's conceptual study model for e-gov adoption, incorporating variables specific to the Pakistan context. The perceived ease of use influence perceived usefulness, trust, and attitude and its effects on Pakistan's intention to use new technologies and e-gov in the Pakistani public sector. The conceptual framework expects the adoption of e-gov is presented in Figure 1. The considerations and their corresponding variables found in the literature are presented as follows.

Figure 1

Hypothesized research model.

Perceived Ease of Use and Perceived Usefulness

As the e-gov system is easy to use, employees can easily find useful and meaningful information to help them learn the usefulness of these services. Perceived ease of use (PEOU) has a direct relation to perceived usefulness (Alkali & Abu Mansor, 2017; Xie, Song, Peng, & Shabbir, 2017). PU is another essential TAM construct that expects employee intention to adopt an e-govt system. It suggests that the more employees perceive e-government services that are useful/beneficial in comparison to traditional offline modes, the more inclined they are to use them. Besides, earlier research found PEOU to be a significant antecedent of trust (Wu & Chen, 2005; Xie et al., 2017), besides, PU has a positive impact on trust as well as a significant predictor of intentions of the e-govt adoption (Al-Sharafi, Arshah, Alajmi, Herzallah & Qasem, 2018; Xie et al., 2017).

The theory of TAM indicates that PU and PEOU are associated with the attitude for adopting advanced technology, which influences the intention of adoption. A previous study suggests that PU is a reliable indicator of the adoption of technology (Okcu, Koksalmis, Basak, & Calisir, 2019). PU has a direct effect on the intention to adopt in some studies and has enhanced its impact on employees through attitude (Iskandar, Subramaniam, Abd Majid, Ariff, & Rao, 2020; Munoz-Leiva, Climent-Climent, & Liébana-Cabanillas, 2017; Taylor & Todd, 1995). PU and PEOU drive trust and attitudes of employee e-gov adoption, which are impacted by certain external factors. For modern technology or e-gov, such considerations are easy to understand. They can be used extensively to tackle e-gov adoption problems concerning public sector employees (Taylor & Todd, 1995; Xie et al., 2017).

Hence the following hypotheses are:

H1: PEOU will be positively affected by the PU of e-gov adoption in employees.

H2: PEOU will be positively influenced by the trust for e-gov adoption in public sector employees.

H3: PEOU will positively impact the attitude of e-gov adoption in public sector employees.

H4: PU will have a positive effect on employees’ trust to adopt e-gov adoption in the public sector.

H5: PU will have a positive influence on employees’ attitudes of e-gov adoption.

H6: PU will significantly impact the employee intention to adopt e-gov in the public sector.

Trust

Trust is an essential part of human interactions. Trust is defined as honesty, confidence, and reliability; e-govt adoption highly concerns a high level of trust, described as a complicated concept that expresses one party's willingness (Xie et al., 2017). Trust is considered an emotional and intellectual desire. The shared among stakeholders plays a crucial role in trust and attitude. Specific findings have shown a positive relationship between trust and attitude (Munoz-Leiva et al., 2017; Xie et al., 2017). Numerous researchers have demonstrated the significant impact of trust on e-gov intentions (Khasawneh, Rabayah, & Abu-Shanab, 2013). Therefore, trust has been hypothesized as follows:

H7: Trust will significantly impact the attitude of e-gov adoption in public sector employees.

H8: Trust will positively influence employees’ intentions toward e-gov adoption.

Attitude

Attitude asserts the negative or positive feelings of a person toward a specific behavior. The most apparent precursor of intent is an attitude that is well described as an individual's negative or positive emotions about the behavior expected (Yeh & Wu, 1999). A previous study on attitude toward technological content indicates that individuals are motivated to be using a system to assist them in their activities (Yeh & Wu, 1999). Different findings in previous literature expressed the fact that the attitude of employees significantly impacts the intent to adopt new technology (Iskandar et al., 2020). Recent research found a significant association between attitude and intention in public management settings (Zahid & Haji Din, 2019). Some studies (Iskandar et al., 2020; Munoz-Leiva et al., 2017; Xie et al., 2017; Yeh & Wu, 1999) have indicated that attitudes may influence the higher use of intention to adopt.

The hypothesis was thus proposed as follows:

H9: Attitude has positively influenced the employees’ intention toward e-government adoption.

Proposed Methodology
Survey Administration

A survey with more than 300 public sector employees in Pakistan will be conducted to test the hypotheses. An online study would be designed for data collection because it is a quicker and more efficient way to gather views. Its survey's general population is all employees with in-depth knowledge of e-gov and their services. Since this study was intended to gather information on the e-gov adoption decision-making experience and opinion, it is therefore initially proposed that the study should be carried out at one public sector organization, and the sample size could be expanded in the future by incorporating some similar organizations (Ahmed, Qin, & Aduamoah, 2018).

Proposed Measures

Five factors premise the proposed framework that reflects PEOU, PU, trust, attitude, and the intention to adopt e-gov. In a survey designed by Munoz-Leiva et al. (2017), the final questionnaire contained 16 items. Three statements PEOU and five PU statements are expected to be measured updated from Ahmed et al., 2018 and Venkatesh & Davis, 2000 were conducted using the TAM model. Three items are used to measure trust (Munoz-Leiva et al., 2017) in the same way as three items are used to measure attitude adapted from Venkatesh and Davis (2000). Finally, IU has been measured by two items taken from (Munoz-Leiva et al., 2017). A 5-point Likert scale measured each item (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree). There were also numerous questions concerning the adoption of the e-govt system following the outbreak in the survey.

Data Analysis

This study aims to test the hypothesis and the theoretical framework using a path analysis proposed based on a sequence of analyzing multiple regression. The Pearson correlation coefficients shall detect potential multicollinearity problems for all objects in the survey instrument. Benchmarks with a 0.05 P-value and a minimum Chronbach alpha of 0.70 are established for each element. Besides, model fitness will be calculated through Normed Fit Index (NFI), Goodness of Fit Index (GFI), Comparative Fit Index (CFI), and Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA). The hierarchical multiple regression is carried out by the R2 values to check the relationships between independent and dependent variables.

Conclusion & Future Direction

This study examined the precedents of the intention to adopt the e-government system in Pakistan. Presently, Pakistan faces many critical issues such as the political system, legitimacy crisis, internal disputes, external threat, bureaucratic red-tapism, corruption, and economic crisis. Under these circumstances, Pakistan needs a technology-driven framework to develop and advance the e-government system in the public sector. This study identifies the determinants and influences factors of the intentions of public sector employees to adopt an integrated conceptual model for e-government services. The findings of the survey have meaningful consequences and indicate that PEOU, PU, trust, and attitude are closely connected to e-government system adoption. The more individuals have trust and attitude, the more they intend to use the e-government system. Policymakers will help to improve efficiency, enhance transparency, and reduce public sector corruption to carry out this study. The proposed design model can be used in the public sector and the private sector and is significant to the local context of Pakistan's e-government framework. In the future, we would like to conduct our empirical research to know the citizens’ opinions on the successful adoption and propagation of the e-government system in Pakistan.

Figure 1

Hypothesized research model.
Hypothesized research model.

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