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Regional E-government Readiness in Saudi Arabia: Challenges and Opportunities (The Case of Hail Region)

In the last decades, there has been an increase in the adoption of information technologies around the world. In the developed countries as well as some developing countries, governments have adopted information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance the access and delivery of government services to benefit citizens, businesses, industries, and employees. However, e-government represents a major alteration in the entire public sector structure, principles, culture and the means of carrying out business by making use of the potential of ICT as a device in the government organizations. Many governments around the world have presented electronic government as a way of reducing costs, advancing services for people and raising effectiveness and productivity in the public sector. Hence, e-government has been recognized as one of the main concerns for governments across the world. Though, the presentation of e-government is about a thorough modification within government and about the relationship between a government and its people. Therefore, the implementation of e-government raises significant technological, social, organizational and political issues which must be taken into consideration and treated cautiously by any government planning its implementation. However, there have been very few studies conducted to investigate, for example, the reasons for the slow progress in regional e-government programs since the introduction of the national e-government program in Saudi Arabia in 2005. Moreover, there is very little published research that emphasizes the factors inhibiting e-government initiatives in Saudi regions. Thus, this study is an attempt to explore and investigate empirically how e-government project is progressing regionally in Saudi Arabia. In addition, it identifies the various challenges and opportunities that regions face. The study used a qualitative case study by conducting 25 interviews with public sector employees in different positions from 5 government organizations in Hail city. Documents analysis was also utilized in this paper. The overall results indicated that e-government progress is still slow in Hail region, where most of the government agencies in this region are categorized to be progressing in the second stage. However, the comparison of e-government readiness between Hail, Riyadh and Madinah shows that Hail region is still away behind in the implementation of e-government services, while Riyadh and Madinah are generally classified to be progressing in the third stage (two-way service delivery). The study also indicated that there were some challenges that would hinder the implementation process of e-government adoption in Hail region. These challenges were categorized as technological, social, organizational and political. Technological challenges include (IT standards, security, privacy, accessibility, ICT infrastructure, and interoperability). However, social challenges include (awareness, transparency, e-literacy, trust, authentication, and culture). The results also showed some organizational challenges such as (strategy, change management, resistance to change, and records management). In addition to some political challenges comprising (leadership, legal and regulation issues, and funding issues). Some opportunities were found to help the organizations in Hail region to advance its e-government services such as (improving management and decision making process, organizing government business process, increasing collaboration among public organizations, increasing productivity, reducing operation cost, enhancing ICT infrastructure, increasing the exchange of data between organizations, improving the efficiency, fastening the transaction process and response, and developing new skills for employees). Generally, this paper could provide further research with knowledge about regional e-government readiness in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, it provides a comprehensive sight on recognizing the challenges and opportunities of e-government adoption for the benefit of similar nations.
Type of thesis
Aldhabaan, A. (2012). Regional E-government Readiness in Saudi Arabia: Challenges and Opportunities (The Case of Hail Region) (Thesis, Master of Electronic Commerce (MECom)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/6466
University of Waikato
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