Technical Factors and Trust in E-Government

Subject: Politics & Government
Pages: 7
Words: 1909
Reading time:
9 min
Study level: PhD


The study has analyzed nine relationships related to the issues of adoption of e-government in a certain context. The use of the Internet has enhanced the accessibility to all facets of government processes and services and enabled the easy and speedy delivery of these services to citizens, companies, employees, and investors (Teo, Srivastava & Jiang 2009). The development of e-government is based on the significant progress of the information and communication technologies, and the study supports the important role of such factors as agency factors, trust, risk, citizens’ characteristics and satisfaction, and intention to use in the process.

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Main body

In online services, such technical attributes as the high information quality, system quality, and service quality are important to build a trusting relationship between citizens and the government to retain users (Teo, Srivastava & Jiang 2009). Abdelghaffar, Kamel, and Duquenov (2010) state that the overall trust in e-government is affected by the trust in the used technology. Ayyash, Ahmad, and Singh (2013) examined the relationship between the information system and trust in e-government and conferred that the up-to-date, relevant, flawless, and useful information has a great impact on the users’ trust and following the adoption of the e-government system. The system quality of the e-government website also has a direct connection with the users’ trust in e-government. Therefore, the users’ requirements and expectations should be taken into account during the process of designing government websites in order to enhance the system quality and ensure a greater level of trust in the users’ of the governmental information. Ayyash, Ahmad, and Singh (2013) also found that the better service quality with respect to prompt services and links to other sites encourages users to increase their loyalty to the online government system. Wang, Cao, and Yang (2010) state that the citizens’ trust in e-government is highly influenced by their trust in technology. Users may be worried about data safety due to the open environment of the Internet; hence, assuring them with the help of legal and technological safeguards may engender their trust in e-government.

Government Agencies Factors and Trust in E-government

Such government agency factors like reputation and the experience associated with the governmental factors also influence the citizens’ trust. In her article, Colesca (2009) claims that citizens considered e-government services as trustworthy only when they had a previous positive experience with the government. In this case, the focus is on the citizens’ expecta­tions regarding the e-government services that are based on the government’s reputation. If the knowledge of the government’s services allows discussing them as reputable and high-quality, the level of the citizens’ trust in e-government increases (Abu-Shanab & Al-Azzam 2012; Liu & Zhou 2010). Therefore, much attention is paid to institutional trust as the aspect explaining the relationship between the government’s reputation and the citizens’ developed trust. Beldad et al. (2012) note that the relationship between the governmental reputation and the individuals’ trust is even more direct because people are inclined to form the trust referring only to the reputation without having experience or the appropriate knowledge about the agency. From this point, there is a direct relationship between the organizational reputation and its perceived trustworthiness that leads to the increased use of the e-government services because of the high level of trust in citizens.

Risk and Trust in E-Government

In his article, Zeffane (2015) states that the trust plays a key role in encouraging people to become engaged in activities with potential risks. In the area of e-government, risks include the issues of privacy, security, and unauthorized access to governmental documentation and resources. According to Abu-Shanab and Al-Azzam (2012), online governmental services can be accessed by anybody, the information can be potentially changed or damaged, and this fact decreases the overall trust in e-government because of the citizens’ increased uncertainty regarding the systems’ security. These risks of violated privacy and security are discussed as typical for the online environment, and they influence the citizens’ trust in e-government negatively (Alsaghier et al. 2009). Citizens need to know that the used technology is secured, and their private data cannot be used by unauthorised users of the systems in order to use the services (Teo, Srivastava & Jiang 2009). Alsaghier et al. (2009) claim that the higher protection of users in terms of their privacy and security leads to higher trust and the adoption of online services. The reverse relationship is also observed because citizens are inclined to avoid paying attention to risks associated with the use of trusted websites (Teo, Srivastava & Jiang 2009).

Citizens’ Characteristics and Trust in E-Government

Citizens’ characteristics have strong implications for their attitude towards e-government, influencing trust. Zeffane (2015) emphasises the relationship between gender and citizens’ online behaviours and the level of trust related to online websites. According to the researcher, women are inclined to demonstrate higher trust in online services (Zeffane 2015). Abdelghaffar, Kamel and Duquenov (2010) noted the relationship between the citizens’ attitudes to the agencies’ work and the trust in e-government. Alsaghier et al. (2009) state that such individuals’ characteristics as the faith in humanity and trusting stance are also important to influence the overall level of trust. The reason is that people having the faith in humanity feel that others are upright and trustworthy, and the trusting stance means that better outcomes can be obtained in any situation (McKnight & Chervany, cited in Alsaghier et al. 2009, p. 298). Therefore, in the context of e-government, the citizens’ characteristics significantly influence the trust in e-government (Warkentin et al. 2002). Colesca (2009) notes that the trust is also influenced by the citizens’ confidence related to the government’s ability to propose such kinds of services. In addition, the lack of trust in citizens is often the result of their negative experiences and observed inadequacies in the work of online services (Colesca 2009).

Trust in E-Government and Intention to Use

The anonymous and impersonal environment of the Internet decreases the citizens’ trust in e-government. As a result, the citizens’ intentions to use the online services and the wide adoption of e-government become limited (Beldad et al. 2012). Ayyash, Ahmad, and Singh (2013) found a positive connection between the trust and intention to use the e-government accentuating the role of the users’ attitude to the Internet in this case. When the users discuss the e-government websites “useful in completing their transactions in an effective and deficient manner”, it is possible to speak about the high level of trust in the proposed services that are viewed as “friendly” and “flexible” (Ayyash, Ahmad & Singh 2013, p. 3871). Zucker (cited in Warkentin 2002, p. 159) mentioned that the trust in e-government depends on three basic modes: “institution-based trust”, “characteristic-based trust”, and “process-based trust” that influence the further citizens’ choice to use or not the online services.

Trust in E-Government and User’s Satisfaction

Trust in the e-government is a key issue in the adoption of services that also influences the citizens’ satisfaction (Teo, Srivastava & Jiang 2009). Liu and Zhou (2010, p. 751) note that the customers’ trust in “the government portals, processes, information, and other aspects of government” influences the delivery of the online services and the associated satisfaction of citizens. A robust and reliable trust model is required for ensuring the citizens’ trust that leads to their satisfaction and the continued use of e-government websites (Liu & Zhou 2010). The research confirms that there is also the reverse relationship and the trust in e-government can depend on the increased level of satisfaction with the e-government services (Wang & Lo 2013). Welch, Hinnant, and Moon (2014, p. 386) state that the citizens satisfied with the government’s services are inclined to “use resources efficiently”, and this aspect is associated with the “higher levels of trust and confidence” in relation to the governmental websites. Therefore, trust influences the citizens’ satisfaction with e-government, and in their turn, citizens’ expectations and satisfaction can affect the level of trust in e-government.

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User’s Satisfaction and Intention to Use

The user’s satisfaction means the complex of positive attitudes to the e-government associated with the “perceived usefulness” of services and the “ease of use”, and the high level of satisfaction is positively related to the further intention to use the website (Wang & Lo 2013, p. 123). This relationship is also associated with the users’ opinion on the quality of information, system, and website tools. Teo, Srivastava, and Jiang (2009) pay attention to the fact that citizens’ previous negative experiences with websites can influence their perceptions, satisfaction, and subsequently, their intention to continue the use of websites in the future (Welch, Hinnant & Moon 2014). The researchers found a close relationship between the satisfaction with e-government based on the trust in the government and the citizens’ intention to use the website. Dwivedi, Weerakkody, and Janssen (2011) note that convenient, secured, and efficient services make citizens satisfied with the e-government processes and can guarantee the further use of the government websites. Making the citizens’ aware of the benefits of the proposed programs will help in stimulating the use of e-government services in the future.

Citizens’ Satisfaction and Adoption of E-Government

Researchers state that the adoption of e-government is significantly influenced by the citizens’ satisfaction as the users’ uncertainties and risks connected with online services affect their willingness to accept the e-government (Teo, Srivastava & Jiang 2009). Alsaghier et al. (2009) and Teo, Srivastava, and Jiang (2009) indicate that it is necessary to generate trust and e-loyalty among the users to make them accept e-government and retain them through their satisfaction with the provided services. By using e-government services, people can be benefitted in terms of cost, time, and convenience, and these factors influence their satisfaction (Alsaghier et al. 2009). However, to make people adopt the online scenario, “every government programme needs to have a clear idea of the proposed benefits to citizens” (Dwivedi, Weerakkody & Janssen 2011, p.11). Abdelghaffar, Kamel, and Duquenov (2010) also accentuate the direct connection between the users’ satisfaction and perceived security and privacy issues and their adoption of the new e-government services. In their turn, Lee, Kim, and Ahn (2011) state that the satisfaction with services can be discussed as directly leading to the adoption of the e-government because of the connected positive perceptions.

Intention to Continue Use and Adoption of E-Government

The relationship between the citizens’ intention to continue using e-government websites and adoption of e-government services is supported in studies on the topic. Rehman, Kamal, and Esichaikul (2013) found that the security factor and risks influence the intention to continue using services, and this intention based on trust allows the further adoption of similar websites. Dwivedi, Weerakkody, and Janssen (2011) claim that it is necessary to make considerable efforts to intensify the citizens’ attentiveness towards online government services and ensure that they know enough about the services in order to guarantee the continued use and the associated adoption of the e-government. From this point, the relationship between the citizens’ intention to continue using e-government websites and their adoption of e-government services is accepted by researchers. Lee, Kim, and Ahn (2011) explain the connection between these processes and intentions of users to refer to the e-government with references to the other influential factors, including satisfaction, trust, and loyalty. Therefore, it is possible to note that the situation when a citizen plans to continue the use of the governmental website is directly associated with the fact that there is a positive attitude to the services, and the adoption of e-government can be observed.


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