The rapid development of information technology has affected the human society. Development of the internet has had a profound influence on human interaction. Many commercial institutions recognized the benefits of the internet in business operations. They adopted the use of the internet to improve competitiveness and relationship with their customers. Since late 1990s, many governments have determined the advantages of information technology in fulfilment of citizens’ needs. This paper is a research proposal on issues of citizens’ trust in e-government services in Oman.
The implementation and propagation of e-government faces numerous challenges. The advancement of a country’s ICT infrastructural systems does not necessarily lead to ease in implementation of e-government. Inadequacy in security and privacy provisions are key concerns that affect the adoption of e-government. These concerns lead to distrust in the applications used in e-government systems. Citizens may fear that such risks can make other people access sensitive and personal information. Concerns that citizens identify in the use of the internet can be the key hindrances to the adoption of e-government services. Based on these concerns, numerous studies on the adoption of e-government services have proposed that trust, protection and clearness are the key issues in e-government (Emurian & Wang, 2005). Other studies have focused on the relationship between e-government and trust (Warkentin, Gefen, Pavlou and Rose, 2002). This study differs in that it focuses on the issues of trust in the adoption of e-government. As such, it focuses on the elements of trust only.
Trust is a gift to humanity and develops through social interactions. It is related to risks and prospects. Trust has been examined broadly in numerous disciplines. Trust is an abstract and a psychological concept. It is related to concepts like safety and reliability and incorporates cognitive, behavioural and emotional dimensions. Additionally, past studies have shown that trust does not automatically grow gradually (Srivastava and Thomson, 2005). It grows cumulatively, and the intensity of conviction in early phases of relationships affects the afterwards stages. The intensity of trust in early phases of relationships also shapes the growth of durable associations. Pre-interactional and interactional factors affect the growth of trust. Pre-interactional factors include behavioural, institutional and technological attributes. Interactional factors include service, transactional delivery and information content attributes (Davidaviciene, 2008).
The use of modern technology in delivery of a government’s services can be beneficial in reformation of institutions. Modernization of government institutions can increase efficiency in delivery of services. However, many people do not use the e-government services due to distrust. One study revealed that only 124 million Europeans use e-government (Wauters and Lörincz, 2008). It is essential to understand the characteristics of citizens before implementation of e-government services is performed. Citizens’ trust in e-government involves complex relationships. Citizens must have trust in their government before they adopt e-government services. Secondly, citizens must trust the internet. A government must demonstrate to its citizens that it has the managerial and technical capabilities required to execute and manage e-government. Therefore, the level of trust in a government, its managerial and technical capabilities and the internet are key issues of trust in e-government. It is vital to determine factors that influence citizens’ trust on a government and the internet.
Factors That Enable Successful Adoption of E-Government
It is evident that features of the internet have influence on trust in e-government. Hence, it is vital to understand the factors that can affect the adoption of e-government services. Many studies have examined adoption forms like the diffusion of technology theory and the acceptance model. However, these models only involve trust in the internet, e-government and the administration. However, privacy and risk issues, confidence in electronic services, inclination to trust and age are critical variables that affect the adoption of e-government services.
Purpose of Study
The study will assist the government of Oman increase the number of people who use the e-government services. The government will know issues of trust that it must address in the e-government systems.
The intention of the study will be to determine the issues of conviction in e-government. Thus, the research design will involve a model that examines relationship between twelve interlinked variables. The variables are age, gender, education, income, years of internet usage, propensity to trust, trust in technology and risk perception. Others are perceived usefulness, quality, privacy concerns and organizational trustworthiness. Several hypotheses will be tested based on the relationship between these variables. These hypotheses are listed below:
- H1: Age has a negative impact on trust in e-government systems.
- H2: Sex has an impact on trust in e-government. Females are likely to trust e-government services.
- H3: Education influences trust in e-government services positively.
- H4: Income influences trust in e-government services positively.
- H5: Years of experience in internet influences trust in e-government positively.
- H6: The propensity to belief influences trust in e-government positively.
- H7: Belief in technology influences trust in e-government positively.
- H8: Believed organizational trustworthiness influences belief in e-government positively.
- H9: Privacy issues have a negative influence on trust in e-government services.
- H10: Risk issues have a negative influence on trust in e-government services.
- H11: Recognized quality has a positive influence on trust in e-government services.
- H12: Recognized usefulness has a positive influence on trust in e-government services.
A survey study will be performed to test the research model developed for the study. A questionnaire will be developed and used in the collection of required information. There will be questions that match each variable in the model. The questionnaire will include a Likert scale. The study will use a seven point Likert scale. The start points will be “strongly agree” while the ends will be “strongly disagree.”
Nine hundred Oman nationals will be included in the study. All individuals who will be included in the study will be aged 18 years and above. Additionally, the study will include people who live in both urban and rural regions of the country. The sample of nine hundred people will be used as it will be representative and able to produce dependable results.
The project will take a period of eight months. The first four months will involve the collection of the required data. The analysis of the collected data will take a period of two months. Finally, the preparation of reports and presentation of the results will take the last two months. The study will require the involvement of twenty researchers. Fifteen people will be research assistants who will be interviewers and data collectors. The other five people will be data analysts.
A reliability test will be performed to determine whether the questionnaire achieves the objectives of the research. This will be done before the model used is tested. Reliability test is an examination of the extent to which there is uniformity between several dimensions of a variable. The study will use the Cronbach’s alpha in the reliability test. The standard or best level of the Cronbach’s alpha is 0.70. Notably, alpha levels or coefficients that exceed 0.70 show acceptable reliability limits. Hence, the questionnaires will be acceptable or dependable if the reliability tests reveal Cronbach’s alpha of 0.70.
Cronbach’s coefficient of 0.70 will be vital in the determination of trustworthiness. The determination of an alpha level of 0.70 or above will be vital in potential execution of e-government services. Citizens must use e-government systems to adopt the services that they provide. The use of e-government includes the reception, provision and dissemination of information via its platforms. Citizens cannot access these services if they do not have confidence in e-government. Additionally, with the ability of e-government to restore citizens’ confidence in a government, it is essential that the processes used in the examination be tested for reliability.
The study expects that the analysis of socio-demographic variables will reveal that age has a noteworthy impact on trust in e-government in Oman. Younger people are likely to trust the services provided via e-government systems. They are likely to use e-government compared to older people. This expectation is likely to be similar to results of previous studies. The study also expects to find that educated people are likely to use the e-government services. However, they are reluctant in the provision of vital information via the internet. Furthermore, the study expects to find that experience in the internet has a profound influence on trust in e-government. The study expects that perceived risk has a negative influence on trust in e-government systems. Finally, a person’s higher awareness of excellence and utility are expected to improve trust in e-government systems.
Many governments include the use of information technology in the provision of services to improve efficiency. However, many citizens do not trust the use of e-government services. This proposal hopes that the study will determine the important issues of trust in e-government services in Oman.