Implementation of E-Government in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Abstract

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has advanced its position from the 80th rank in the year 2005 to 70th rank in the year 2008 in the matter of e-government readiness as assessed by the United Nations. However, the implementation of e-government initiatives by the country was not an easy task as several challenges and obstacles including the cost, awareness, technology and cultural factors have impeded the process. In this context, the objective of this paper is to examine the implementation of e-governance in the Kingdom amidst the challenges and obstacles.

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Through the quantitative research method of survey, this study establishes that the implementation process of e-government has been largely hampered by the organizational obstacles closely followed by political and regulatory obstacles rather than the general perception of lack of awareness among the people or financial obstacles. The study also suggests conducting of seminars, conferences and training programmes as some of the recommendations for improving the awareness of the g-government implementation.

List of Tables

Table No Description Page No
1 Categories and coding of part III questions choices 55
2 Correlation coefficients and the degree of constraints on the Overall resolution 56
3 Normal Distribution Test 57
4 Demographic Information of Respondents 58
5 Frequencies and percentages of gender subject 59
6 Frequencies and percentages of “Age” 59
7 Frequencies and percentages of “Monthly income” 60
8 Results of Awareness of E-Governance and Access to Internet 61
9 Frequencies and percentages of “Have easy access to internet” 61
10 Frequencies and percentages of “Have a personal computer at home”. 62
11 Frequencies and percentages of “Have internet access in office”. 63
12 Frequencies and percentages of “Prefer to have e. government in place” 63
13 Frequencies and percentages of “Have a personal computer in office” 64
14 Frequencies and percentages of “Have knowledge of e-government” 65
15 Frequencies and percentages of “have internet access at home” 65
16 Percentage of obstacle alternatives, the arithmetic average, and The level of significance of each obstacle – “Political obstacles” 70
17 Percentage of obstacle alternatives, the arithmetic average, and The level of significance of each obstacle – “Financial obstacles” 71
18 Percentage of obstacle alternatives, the arithmetic average, and the level of significance of each obstacle “Technological obstacles” 72
19 Percentage of obstacle alternatives, the arithmetic average, and The level of significance of each obstacle “Organizational obstacles” 74
20 Percentage of obstacle alternatives, the arithmetic average, and The level of significance of each obstacle “Social Infrastructure obstacles” 76

List of Figures

Figure No Description Page No
1 Chart of gender results 59
2 Age-wise Distribution of Samples 59
3 “Monthly income” Distribution of Samples 60
4 Chart of “Have easy access to internet” results. 62
5 Chart of “Have a personal computer at home” results. 62
6 Chart of “Have internet access in office” results. 63
7 Chart of “Prefer to have e. government in place” results. 64
8 Chart of “Have a personal computer in office” results 64
9 Chart of “Have knowledge of e-government” results 65
10 Chart of “Have internet access at home” results 66
11 Chart of Evaluation of Data on overall obstacles 79

Introduction

Advancement in information and communication technology has changed peoples’ lives and the ways in which they communicate and conduct their businesses. Everyday life of people has become so intertwined with internet that it is being used in all occupations. This advancement has also influenced the ways governments provide services to people and agencies. Expectations of the people have reached a stage that the services provided by the governments should equal or exceed the levels offered by the private sector. Governments across the world have widely adopted the digital revolution that makes use of electronic applications for the discharge of several government functions and services.

Electronic government applications are being used to deliver services in the industrialized and developing nations. Citizens in the Arab world especially in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, because of their sophistication in the realm of technology have accepted the internet as a delivery means for the government to provide various services to them. In this context, this thesis presents an analytical report on the study of the performance of E-government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The study using the quantitative research method of survey examines the effectiveness of the E government functioning in the Kingdom.

E-Government – an Overview

E-government is defined as the technology applications used by government and public agencies to deliver services to citizens, businesses and agencies. According to Atallah, E-government helps to reduce the costs of governance by making internal operations efficient. For instance, In Washington state, government e-procurement systems are saving an average of 10-20% in terms of material and procurement costs (Atallah, 2001).

The objective of E-government is to improve citizen’s access to government services and expertise to ensure their satisfaction with the governing process. Atallah observed that a majority of chief executives believe the Internet to be important an important tool in providing services to their clients. Governments worldwide are pouring money into development of e-government applications. E-government applications will save time for people and prevent the need for lengthy waiting times (Kostopoulos, 2004).

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E-government applications have become a major component of implementing electronic government and the main intermediate between users and the web sites due to the technological capability to provide professionals, organizations and government agencies with special routes to global events and facilitating operations. It meets the demands from citizens for better services while saving precious resources.

Government agencies can save operating costs and those savings may be achieved in several categories, such as labour and supplies. Research has shown that governments can save seventy percent of their total expenditure by transferring their services online. People in Saudi Arabia travel many miles for government services because it is a very large country (Gilbert et al, 2004). By adopting e-government mechanism, considerable time and money of the citizens can be saved.

Saudi Arabian government has focused on developing e-government services for its citizens. It is a user centric initiative. It revolves around the notion of providing better government services to the user. The government aims to establish excellent government services by 2010 for everyone in the Kingdom. Although the Saudi government is taking serious steps in this direction, several institutions are still in the primary stages in adopting the e-governance practices and these agencies have not fulfilled the expected e-government preparation due to obstacles and challenges posed by technology, legislation, regulations and social obstacles. This paper focuses on the obstacles and barriers faced by government institutions in the implementation of e-government in Saudi Arabia.

Scope of the Study

The benefits of e-government have been emphasized largely in the literature. However, little attention has been paid to the challenges faced by government agencies in the implementation of e-government. The current study investigates those challenges and obstacles in order to bring them into the limelight. The findings of the study will help in speeding up the process of implementing e-government applications in Saudi Arabia. This study documents and analyzes the perceptions of individuals towards the obstacles of implementing e-government in Saudi Arabia and assesses the obstacles and provides policy makers in Saudi Arabia with the present state of e-government applications. This will help the government in reducing obstacles and spreading e-government applications.

Aims and Objectives

The study has the broad aim of assessing the implementation of e-government applications in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The objectives for achieving this aim are:

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  1. To review the available literature to further the knowledge on e-governance in general
  2. To assess and report on the present state of e-government implementation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  3. To examine the challenges and obstacles in the implementation of e-government applications in the context of Saudi Arabia
  4. To study the perceptions of the citizens of Saudi Arabia on the e-government initiatives of the government in Saudi Arabia
  5. To recommend plausible means of improving the e-governance applications by the government of Saudi Arabia

Research questions

The research will centre round supplementing the research question of

  • What is the present state of e-government applications in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?

In the process of conducting the research for providing theoretical support to the main question, the following sub-questions will be addressed by the study.

  • What are the obstacles and challenges faced in the process of implementing the e-government applications?
  • What is the role of government policies, financial systems, technological systems, organizational systems and social systems in impeding the implementation of e-governance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?
  • What are the perceptions of individual Saudi citizens about the e-government initiatives of the government of Saudi Arabia?

Significance of the study

E-government will easily spread too many institutions if it has been successfully implemented. Government institutions are ideal places to implement new technological tools in an effort to provide an example for other institutions and positively affect e-government initiatives. Government institutions play an important role in Saudi Arabia for the application of new technology tools. They also help to prepare a qualified workforce for the country’s economy. This research attempts to investigate the obstacles and challenges that influence or prevent e-government implementation. It seeks to overcome the barriers in order to expand e-government applications and be a guide for governmental organizations in Saudi Arabia.

The implementation of e-government is a formidable and expensive task in the developing world. Research has shown that success of e-government projects is between twenty and forty percent. Academic research on e-government is limited. This paper attempts to explore the biggest obstacles associated with the implementation of e-government applications. This would assist the Saudi government and its policy makers to understand the real obstacles and barriers to the implementation of e-government applications.

This study will be beneficial because it will provide effective assessment measures of e-government obstacles. The results will be helpful for Saudi government policy makers in responding to the challenges of e-government implementation. The findings will contribute to assisting the government to take action against these obstacles and barriers. Finally, this study can help initiate further research into the barriers of e-government implementation.

This dissertation is structured to have different chapters for a cohesive presentation of the report on the study. First chapter while introducing the subject of the study detailed the objectives and research questions. Chapter two reviews the related literature on the topic of e-governance followed chapter 3 presenting a brief overview of the research methodology adopted for conducting the research. The findings of the research and a detailed analysis of the findings are presented in chapter four. Concluding remarks by way of a recap of the issues dealt with by the study form chapter five. This chapter also presents the limitations of the study and few recommendations for further research.

E-Governance – Review of Related Literature

Introduction

E-Government can be defined as the “use of information and communications technologies by governments to enhance the range and quality of information and services provided to citizens, businesses, civil society organizations, and other government agencies in an efficient, cost-effective, and convenient manner, making government processes more transparent and accountable and strengthening democracy” (Digital Government).

Thus, the objective of the e-government may be inferred as not just to convert the government records in to computer-based reports, but also to transform the government itself (Deloitte and Touche, 2003). It may be noted that a successful e-government depends 20 percent on information and communication technology and the balance 80 percent on the people, processes, and organizations.

The e-government is about making the government become more business-like in place of the old bureaucratic set up. By making a government e-government, the aim is to make it being available 24 hours a day and 7 days of a week in the service of the people. At the time, the initiative for e-government was started; it was considered an equivalent of e-commerce without really going in to the additional advantages the e-government can provide to the welfare and wellbeing of the people.

The intention later was changed to save costs and to provide better information and service to the citizens of the county which may be coded as G2C (Government to Citizens) and also from Government to Businesses (G2B). The ultimate aim was to link various governments (G2G) for exchange of information and reports, concluding transactions and data transfers.

Therefore, the e-government principles underline the importance of converting the present paper based information and systems to mechanized way of dealing. This change is expected to bring about new leadership views, novel methods of discussing the issues and arriving at decisions on new strategies for growth, improved ways of making transactions with the departments of government and providing the communities and citizens with new services and benefits.

Ultimately, e-government aims to enhance the provision of government services for immense benefits to the citizens. The most important objective of e-government is to strengthen the efforts of the government directed to offer an effective governance and enhanced transparency to manage the social and economic resources of the nation for the development.

Benefits from E-Government

There are certain distinct advantages resulting from e-government. Since the key to the successful implementation of e-government is the establishment of long-term organizational strategies with a view to improve the operations for fulfilling the needs of the citizens, the e-government should result in an efficient and swift delivery of goods and services to citizens. In this process the businesses, government employees, and agencies will also be largely benefited.

To the citizens and businesses e-government will provide the direct intangible benefit of simplification of procedures and a through streamlining of the process, which would save considerable time and efforts on the part of the citizens and businesses alike. The employees of the government would be able to derive the advantage of better decision-making ability by the greater coordination between different departments. This also helps them to enter to transactions with the departments more easily.

E-government has the capability to improve the delivery of public services and make them easier to access. They are more convenient to use and more responsive. E-government has significantly reduced the use of paper, pencils and gas. It has helped protect the environment. Governments have benefited through the ability to provide the public with low cost and convenient access to information. The Internet also provides twenty-four hour services and information to citizens. It liberates citizens from the hassles of travelling to public offices. The public can access information and request services at any time. This is also convenient for government employees who can respond to emails during working hours (Bertot et al, 2008).

E-government improves service delivery and transparency. It also economizes and improves the service operations of governments. It reduces their financial costs and transactional costs. It is predicted that the success of e-government will eventually overcome red tape, corruption, nepotism, cronyism and inefficient bureaucracies. Better information for citizens is considered the biggest benefit of e-government. E-government implementations can help increase literacy rates and facilitate distance learning. It could help Saudi Arabia in the creation of a qualified workforce for its economy. It is an excellent tool for service requests by any user (Bertot et al, 2008).

E-government, in its most efficient and effective form, provides ready access to information, increased self-service options for citizens and businesses, and increased accountability. This allows those in the community to serve themselves at their own convenience because e-government applications can customize services based on personal preferences and needs. Efficiency, including a focus on customer service and improved resource management, is one of the chief reforms cited to advance e-government initiatives. Through e-government, the automation of standardized tasks can reduce errors and improve consistency in outcomes, while the re-engineering and streamlining of operating procedures can lead to lower costs and a reduction in bureaucratic tiers (Center for Democracy & Technology, 2002.).

Though duplicative positions may be eliminated through such actions, less time spent on repetitive tasks, such as processing license renewals or employee benefit changes, may provide the remaining employees with opportunities for the development of new skills and for career advancement. Currently, governments utilize the Internet to provide public services to their citizens far more efficiently and effectively, thereby shaping stronger relationships with businesses and citizens.

The benefits of e-government include continuous availability of service, a reduction in response time and a reduction in error rates, which all contribute to an increase in government efficiency. Innovative IT helps increase efficiency in administration of services, and speeds up public access to necessary information and services. Generally, the lack of political transparency has been associated with governmental corruption and it can lead to increased costs for completing routine transactions and making democratic accountability nearly impossible. Thus, e-government may be used in an effort to increase a government’s transparency (Civika, 2002).

Eliminating bureaucracy and increasing political and economic transparency are some of the objectives behind e-government initiatives, which may be designed to improve accountability, decentralize control, remove bottlenecks in routine transactions, increase the reliability and predictability of government actions, and better ensure equal access to information and services. The primary motivations for governments to move toward e-government are that it will lead to significant savings by offering services online. E-government should not be looked at solely as a strategy for reducing the cost of government, although this can be one valuable result. While it may reduce costs for citizens and businesses, e-government applications, with few exceptions, do not lower costs in the short term for the government itself (Cohen & Emicke, 2002).

In addition, the benefit of using the Internet may significantly reduce the cost of information collection and sharing. Technological innovations may give more quality of service delivery to businesses and customers and reduce the cost of public access to information or services as well as increase government capacity. E-government enables agencies to lower their operating costs, provide faster services to clients, and eliminate redundant IT development across agencies.

The desire to provide new and improved services has a tendency to concentrate more on improving the citizen’s experience of interaction with the government while seeking information or trying to obtain various services.

Kinds of E-Government Transactions

There are mainly four kinds of customers, which will receive services from the e-government. They are:

  • business community,
  • citizens,
  • government employees and
  • Government agencies.

The objective of e-government is to make the interaction among these classes of customers more convenient, friendly, transparent, inexpensive, and above all effective to the core.

In an e-government, setting the citizens would be able to request the government to provide a particular service. They can receive the service through the medium of internet or other ICT mode. In some instances, the citizens can receive the service from one of the government departments instead of a number of such departments. In some other instances, the government transactions are completed without meeting any government official in person. Normally the e-government transactions and services cover

  • Government to Citizens (G2C),
  • Government to Business (G2B),
  • Government to Employee (G2E) and
  • Government to Government (G2G).

G2C includes information distribution to the public, basic government services to the citizens like license renewals, meeting the requests for birth/death/marriage certificates and filing of income tax returns. It also includes the provision of other basic services like education, health care, hospital information, libraries, and others.

G2B transactions encompass multifarious services provided by the government to the businesses and the services provided by the businesses to the government. These services include the dissemination of information of policies, memos, rules, and regulations governing the conduct of businesses. G2B services may include the gathering of the up to date information, obtaining different application forms via internet, collection of current business information, downloading of various departmental application forms from the internet, applying for renewing the industrial and other licenses, newly registering the businesses, obtaining of permits and payment of various dues to the government.

The services offered under G2B transactions are intended to benefit the development of business. The governments specially give priority to the development of small and medium business enterprises. The simplification of application of procedures for SMEs would facilitate the speeding up of the approval process and thereby promote the business development in this sector.

At a different level, G2B services also provides for the e-procurement. E–Procurement is the process by which the government identifies the potential suppliers of goods and services. Typically, the purpose of the e-procurement website is to provide a market place for the qualified and registered buyers and sellers to look for business opportunities through the internet. E-Procurement generally helps the small firms to get various government contracts, as bidding through the website would be easier for them.

The transactions will also be transparent. The e-procurement system results in a considerable cost savings to the government as the intermediaries involved in the transactions are eliminated and the overhead of the government on purchasing agents is eliminated. G2B is supported for its direct impact on the private sector and its ability to reduce the cost of transacting with the government. In addition, e-transaction initiatives, such as e-procurement and the development of an e-marketplace for government, become possible (Hawick, 2002).

G2E services include the provision of specialized services to the employees by the government. These services encompass the human resources training that may be imparted to the employees so that they contribute to improvements in the day-to-day functioning of the government in its various disciplines. The services may also include the disbursement of salary slips and announcing the employment and transfer policies of the government that may change from time to time. Any employer certificates required by the employees for meeting their home loan purposes may be requested and obtained online.

G2G services may take two forms; first, one covers the transactions with the local bodies or regional government authorities. The second types of transactions are entered in to on an international level. G2G services at local level may include the transactions and communications between the national/central government and the local government and the interdepartmental transactions and departmental transactions with the accredited agencies and bureaus.

G2G transactions are intended to result in more cooperation between different national and would develop cordial relationship among them. It is the view of some academics that the relationships, interactions, and transactions between government and employees constitute another large e-government block, since employees are referred to as internal customers, so G2G includes employees as well (Hackney & Jones, 2002). The efficiency of the process is enhanced by the use of online communication and cooperation, which allows for the sharing of databases and resources and the fusion of skills and capabilities (Hasan, 2003).

Goals of E-Government

The Working Group on e-Government in the Developing World has identified five different goals, which the e-governments commonly pursue to achieve their broader goals. The goals of e-government move beyond the mere achievement of efficiency in the government processes to the extent of achieving an overall reform and development. There can be no priorities set for the different goals to be achieved by the e-governments as each country has its own priorities to fulfill.

Creating a Better Business Environment

Technology has been identified to possess the essential ingredients for increasing the productivity and economic growth of any nation especially by stimulating developments in rural and underserved communities. The use of information and communication technology in government and the establishment of an e-government infrastructure provide a business-friendly environment. It also streamlines the interaction and interface between the government and the businesses especially in the SME sector. Hence, the foremost goal of an e-government is to ensure the development of a better business environment by using the latest technology in its governance. The other objective is to attract additional investment from foreign countries for the development of infrastructural facilities in the country.

Provision of Online Services

The next goal lies in the provision of an effective delivery of public goods and services to the citizens. Further, this goal also covers the intention of the government to provide the quickest possible response to the citizens from the government side on their queries and requests with the minimum direct intervention by the government officials.

Ensuring Good Governance and Widening Public Participation

The opening of opportunities for the citizens to take part in the policy and decision-making processes of the government by promoting transparency and accountability in government is ensured. This goal is expected to be achieved through the proliferation of information and communication technology in managing and conducting the government operations. This goal is also intended to fight corruption by adopting the principles of transparency. Although e-government by itself does not provide the means to eradicate the corruption, by supporting it with other able mechanisms can work in this direction. The swift and detailed dissemination of information is yet another goal of the e-government and this enables the citizens to contribute more towards the decision making process of the government.

Improvement in the Productivity and Efficiency of Government Agencies

Adoption of recommendation-engineering processes and use of other procedures to cut red tape so that the delivery of government services is greatly facilitated is the next goal expected to be achieved by the e-government. This automatically increases the productive efficiency of the bureaucracy and increased savings and investments in the country. The goal may be specified in the following forms that are more specific:

  • Increase in the productivity of the staff of the government, reduction in the administrative overheads by shifting to fewer offices and lesser paper management, improvement in the capacity for planning management by the government and increased revenues due to the action of the citizens and businesses applying for more licenses since the process of applying for licenses is made more easier and free from corruption.
  • Result in cost reduction in the medium to long term although in the short term there may be an increase in costs due to installation of systems and technologies and also enhanced staffing costs as the government must provide for the provision of multiple delivery platforms for meeting the requests for information in the traditional as well as the e-government during the period of transition.
  • Streamline the operations of the government processes – this is an important goal of e-government; as most of the government processes would have been evolved over a longer period involving many steps, tasks, and activities. Streamlining would involve the elimination of redundant processes and procedures using ICT and cut the red tape wherever possible.

Improving the Standard and Quality of Life for Disadvantaged Communities

The last but not the least is the goal of the government is to strive to improve the quality of life for marginalized groups or communities by adopting the e-government principles and streamlining the processes. This involves empowering those sections of the people by enabling them to participate in the political process and delivering them public goods and services without great difficulty.

The ultimate goal of the e-government is to increase the interaction between the three constituents of the society, namely the citizens, the businesses, and the government. This is necessary to stimulate a rapid progress of the political, social, and economic systems in the country (Dr.Hongren Zhou, 2001).

Challenges to the Implementation of e-Government

The design and implementation of e-government though appear to be simple, involves a complicated process which poses a number of challenges to the government before, after and during the transition period from the traditional form to the e-government form. The diffusion of technology into society and its subsystems is not without obstacles. Social, economic, physical and learning barriers exist in the workplaces and schools. There are many obstacles and challenges, which could prevent the realization of these anticipated benefits, since the implementation of e-government is an expensive and difficult task. This is so especially in the developing world.

The more likely organizations are to perceive an innovation as consistent with their values, beliefs, culture, and preferred work practice, the more likely they are to adopt it, assuming little or no resistance to change among the staff. The degree of resistance to change by government employees will determine how quickly a government moves through the technology implementation stages (Ciborra, 2005). The first step in addressing the issue of resistance to change among officials is to understand the reasons behind it. Thus, e-government leaders must first understand the causes behind resistance, and identify the most likely sources of it, then devise a plan in order to overcome situations of resistance (Ronaghan, 25, 2001).

There are few other challenges that impede the faster implementation of e-governance in any country like the cost of implementation, lack of leadership and lack of awareness and technical knowledge.Some of the major challenges to the implementation of E-Government are discussed in the following sections:

Cost of e-Governance

Just like any other commercial projects or a government infrastructural project e-government can be accomplished in different phases. However, the cost of implementation is one issue that the government has to address. The cost of implementation will depend on the availability of the current infrastructural facilities, the capabilities of the supplier and users of the technology and the mode of service delivery as there are the options to use internet, telephone hotlines. The costs to the government will escalate when it wants to provide more sophisticated and complicated kinds of service. Certain e-government applications require considerable investment in national IT infrastructure (Rahman, 2007).

It is necessary to ensure the availability of the existing and expected budgetary resources in order to achieve goals. The most serious and significant barrier to the implementation of e-government is a lack of money; e-government implementation is expensive. Since every government budget is already overburdened with every possible expense budget makers can fit into it, the suggestion to expend the considerable sums that an excellent e-government will cost is a non-starter, in budgetary terms, and in budgetary politics. The dilemma of funding often remains the most significant barrier to e-government implementation, even when a government entity has a plan for effective and accessible e-government. This is particularly true when achieving e-government for all necessary education solutions as well as technical ones (Zakareya & Irani, 2005).

Costs, including the cost of system requirements and maintenance, investment risks, training and education, are always seen as major barriers inhibiting agencies from using the Internet. In addition to ensuring enough money for start-up costs, it is also essential to set aside adequate money for the remainder of the project and for future maintenance.

Making Wider Section of the People Using the Services

It is important that any e-government policy should be made as citizen-centered. This implies that the services should be customized keeping the end-user in mind and should be devised as demand-driven services. However, it may so happen that a majority of the citizens may not use the services of the e-government for several reasons. The reasons may include the unfamiliarity of the citizens with ICT, lack of access to the ICT facilities, lack of training and concerns about privacy and security of information.

While the e-government can ensure the ease and convenience in delivering the public services and offer innovative ways of meeting the requests of the citizens, none of these services could be effectively utilized by the citizens unless the government addresses the concerns like lack of access etc mentioned above. Moreover, an effective e-government process requires constant input and feedback from its “customers” – the public, businesses and officials who utilize the services of e-government. Employee training at all government levels should be an integral part of the work plan. This training should also be included in the management design (Gonzalez et al, 2007).

Furthermore, the leadership and enthusiasm of individuals and organizations has driven many e-government advances (Poostchi, 2002). Moreover, governmental organizations should address how existing regulations should be clarified and explained to e-government implementers and, in turn, how they will influence the implementation of services. The application process is increasingly affected by changes in the political environment (Choudrie et al, 2005). Therefore, government needs to educate the upcoming ranks of government leaders, managers and administrators in planning and managing ICTs across all public sectors, focusing on access opportunity, economic development, and effective delivery of public information and services (Prybutok et al, 2008).

One of the main obstacles toward maximizing the potential offered by e-government is individual attitudes and organizational culture, which need to be changed; generally, the stakeholders clearly recognize that e-government is not a technical issue, but rather an organizational issue. In addition, another key issue often raised by stakeholders with regard to e-government implementation, is the need to view e-government as a change management issue rather than an IT implementation issue. Thus, the development of e-government requires fundamental changes in organizational behaviour and culture (Ronaghan, 2001).

All stakeholders who were surveyed suggested that the main challenges to be faced related to human resources, organizational culture and managing their expectations. Culture is an important factor in the adoption of new technology. By being aware of an organization’s culture, a big step should be taken towards a higher capacity to change because culture is the primary driver of strategic organizational change.

Security and Protection of Privacy

Perhaps one of the most significant challenges for implementing e-government initiatives is security. In fact, security refers to the “protection of data against accidental or intentional disclosure to unauthorized persons, or unauthorized modifications or destruction”. Thus, it refers to protection of the information systems, assets and the control of access to the information itself. It is a vital component in the trust relationship between citizens and government.

Security issues may present the largest obstacle to the development of e-government services (Gilbert et al, 2004). Thus, security policies and standards that meet citizen expectations are an important step toward addressing these concerns because many studies have found that security is one of the most important obstacles. In fact, information security is a costly but necessary part of e-government, and involves not only the protection of data, but also the integrity of the software and hardware, training and oversight of personnel and service continuity, the latter being essential to the availability and delivery of services, as well as establishing citizen confidence and trust (Hesson & Al-Ameed, 2007).

While security will remain an obstacle to e-government, it will not significantly affect its progress as the public learns to work with and accept its occasional lapses. In addition, three key issues affect the success of security. The first involves continuous improvement and upgrades in an attempt to stay ahead of criminals. The second is that security is visible and foreboding which will help to deter would be criminals.

Finally, it must be accepted that no security system is perfect and that all can eventually be overcome. However, governmental organizations, being responsible for the collection, maintenance, and distribution of sensitive or confidential information, should consider methods of providing security for collected information as well as for their websites. A national level security mechanism has to be instituted to combat cyber crime and fraud to win the trust of the public and businesses in their transactions with the government. Thus, a body of security professionals should be setup to respond to threats and breaches. In addition, the need for authority and an infrastructure encryption system has to be given top-priority.

Privacy is a major issue in the implementation of e-government in both mature and developing democracies. Concerns about website tracking, information sharing, and the disclosure or mishandling of private information are universal.

There is also the concern that e-government will monitor citizens and invade their privacy. Privacy refers to the guarantee of an appropriate level of protection regarding information attributed to an individual. 63% of e-government users report using government websites generally to find information such as an office address or a list of services provided by an agency, whereas only 23% log on to conduct a transaction. Thus, e-government should be approached with an eye toward the protection of individual privacy. Both technical and policy responses may be required when addressing the privacy issue in an e-government context. Governments have a responsibility to protect people’s privacy or the public may lose confidence in e-government (Shouaeeb, 1997).

The difficulty of protecting individual privacy can be an important barrier to e-government implementation. In addition, there is a need to deal effectively with privacy issues in e-networks in order to increase citizen confidence in the use of e-government services. Citizen confidence in the privacy and careful handling of any personal information shared with governmental organizations is essential to e-government applications. In developing countries, many people are so concerned with privacy and confidentiality issues they decide to forego e-government opportunities. However, the increased focus on security may lead to less interest in the protection of citizens’ privacy.

Government has an obligation to ensure citizens’ rights regarding privacy, processing and collecting personal data for legitimate purposes only. Layne & Lee, (2001) consider privacy and confidentiality as critical obstacles toward the realization of e-government. Citizens are deeply concerned with the privacy of their life and confidentiality of the personal data they are providing as part of obtaining government services. Thus, they pointed out that privacy and confidentiality must remain priorities when establishing and maintaining websites (Lam, 2005).

The protection of the privacy of the information of the citizens and the provision of assurance to them that there will be adequate security to their personal information is critical to e-government. A successful e-government strategy requires effective security controls in government processes and systems in order to address the frequently cited barriers of privacy and security (Moon, 2002). In fact, the government should provide enough guarantee that the protection and privacy to their information will not be compromised under any circumstances. This is important since it is the key to user trust. Unless this assurance is provided to the citizens, no one would be taking the initiative to use e-government services.

Therefore, it is essential to thoroughly re-evaluate the overall mission of the jurisdiction and then design a digital structure that creates a government-citizen interface that simplifies and streamlines each transaction individually, and the entire process of government administration (Roadmap for E-Government, 2002).

Lack of Political Leadership

Lack of political leadership is probably the main cause for most undertakings being abandoned while incomplete, or turning out to be far less successful than expected. Government leadership is required to foster an environment of privacy protection and security. Like any government reform effort, political support will be necessary for the implementation of an e-government project because without continuous active political leadership, the financial resources, inter-agency coordination, policy changes and human effort needed for the planning and implementation of e-government will not be sustained.

Leadership in technological policy and strategy is increasingly found at the level of the chief executive officer (governor, mayor, president, premier, etc) and from elected legislators. Generally, a good first step to demonstrate government leadership is public proclamations of support for e-government and ICT for development. Evidence that government and policy leaders are being educated and trained in order to utilize technology for the betterment of society is another indicator, potentially more important over the longer term, of government leadership in support of technology (Ronaghan, 2001).

Good leadership of e-government initiatives is essential in order to ensure support and resources and to motivate staff. Thus, strong political leadership at all levels can create the conditions for the successful implementation of e-government. This leadership can serve as a catalyst for action and for promoting a shared vision. However, the highest-ranking levels of civil service, though they are provided with the most critical aspects of leadership, can become a large obstacle in the implementation process.

Lack of Proper Regulatory and Public Policy Environment

E-government requires a regulatory and public policy environment that is conducive to the protection of rights, and an enabling legal framework for the digital transformation of government operations. Policy agendas include issues such as cyber law, privacy, security, universal access, credit card transactions, digital signatures, consumer protection, international trade, and telecommunications. A government must follow adoption of high-level e-government and ICT policies with the development of comprehensive regulatory and legal frameworks that directly support ICT for development in order to succeed with e-government initiatives because the processes are highly dependent on a government’s role in ensuring a proper regulatory and legal framework for their operations.

The success of e-government applications requires the trust of citizens in order to flourish. Despite awareness of the benefits and conveniences to be gained from e-government, citizens still may have concerns regarding privacy and security, so governments must work hard to earn citizens’ trust. In fact, government regulatory activity can either encourage or discourage technology adoption. An effective legal framework, with the capacity to identify and address legal obstacles to e-government, gives a government the opportunity to keep pace with the new era of global communications and efficiently provides people with valuable services.

Then, government should enact legislation dealing with e-identification and authentication in order to ensure uniformity in paper and e-processes, keeping in mind that the increasing demand for new legislation may actually be a sign of a necessity to clarify and better diffuse existing regulations to avoid duplication and unnecessary regulation. Although increased administrative efficiency and advancement in e-government initiatives have been made possible by technological progress, chief among the challenges facing government institutions are technical aspects of privacy and security, the need to adjust to rapid technological change and the lack of standards and internal integration (Choudrie et al, 2005).

Cultural Factors

The main barriers to the implementation of e-government are not technical, but cultural implications of new technologies (Feng, 2003). Personal characteristics and subjective conditions are more likely to be influenced by cultural factors than are the objective conditions surrounding the development and diffusion of new technology. Cultural norms and individual behaviour patterns play a role in how citizens and policy makers use technology (West, 2001).

Because culture plays a significant role in an individual’s outlook, many people resist change and adopt new technologies slowly and with great deliberation. Culture can hinder the use and implementation of information systems, due to differences in how systems are interpreted and understood. Furthermore improving working relationships between internal departments and external agencies and adopting a corporate approach are major factors in successful e-government.

To achieve this, it was felt that major cultural changes are necessary. In order to accommodate the internal cultural changes necessary, organizational development must be included in the application process so that internal cultural changes are accommodated. Technical enhancements are not only structural changes, but also cultural changes. These cultural changes, though not as easily tangible, must receive at least as much planning so that technical change is implemented successfully (O’Looney, 2002).

Lack of Knowledge and Awareness

Society’s lack of awareness about e-government is a critical difficulty. In addition, the lack of knowledge and experience with a technology is a potential barrier that is especially relevant in terms of Saudi Arabia.

The ability to use computers and the Internet has become a crucial success factor in e-government implementation, and the lack of such skills may lead to marginalization or even social exclusion (UNPA & ASPA, 2001). Those who do not have access to the Internet will be unable to benefit from online services (OECD, 2003). Thus, digital divide is “the gap between those with access to computers and the internet and those without” (Blau, 2002). In the case of the digital divide, not all citizens currently have equal access to computers and the Internet, whether due to a lack of financial resources, necessary skills, or other reasons. In fact, computer literacy is required for people to be able to take advantage of e-government applications (Shouaeeb, 1997).

Governments should train their employees and citizens in basic skills of dealing with the computer and Internet in order that they can participate in e-government development applications. Some policymakers have argued, however, that the digital divide is not a major concern since citizens without household Internet access can travel to their local library or community technology centre to go online. Making computers available in public locations, such as grocery stores, post offices, libraries, and shopping malls, may help in addressing the gap between those households that have access to the Internet and data services and those who do not.

Technological Issues

According to ITU findings, the developed world is home to 80% of the 500 million Internet users worldwide; two out of every five people in developed countries are online. In developing countries, however, only one person in 50 has access to the Internet, even though some applications and benefits of the information society are already becoming evident (Rao, 2003). However, since online information sources necessitate a certain level of cognitive ability or Internet literacy, the digital divide cannot be completely bridged through general physical access to computer technology alone (Kelley & James, 2003).

In fact, lack of knowledge and experience with technology is a potential barrier that is especially relevant to Saudi Arabia (Al-Zamias, 2001). Furthermore, people in rural areas and inner city neighbourhoods may have less Internet access than others, while those who have never used computers may simply be reluctant to use the new technology (NECCC, 2000). In addition, disabled people have very limited access, because the universal statistics indicate that some form of disability access (i.e. access for persons with disabilities) is available on only 2% of government websites (West, 2001).

Therefore, governments should pursue policies to improve access to online services for people with disabilities. Since many advantages of online government information and services are unavailable offline, inaction will lead to the exclusion of those who lack access.

Sometimes, language is considered one of the barriers that prevent participation in e-government applications even for citizens. While most Saudi residents speak Arabic, some non-citizens do not speak Arabic. Most Saudi government websites currently are Arabic-only; therefore, it is important to include English versions in order to allow non-Arabic speakers to take advantage of e-government. Thus, all Saudi governmental websites should have Arabic and English versions. The extent to which English has become the language of global e-government is the most notable aspect, with some 72% of national government websites having an English version of the site, and 28% not having one.

Many government websites offer more than one language, a reflection of the multi-linguistic character of global interactions. Forty-five percent of national government websites have some kind of language accommodation feature, such as text translation that allows access to non-native speaking individuals.

Process of Achieving the e-Governance

There are different steps involved in making e-government happen. These steps are:

  1. Developing a vision
  2. Conducting an assessment of e-readiness
  3. Identifying goals that are realistic and achievable
  4. Getting the bureaucracy to buy-in and develop a change management strategy
  5. Building public-private partnerships

Developing a Vision

Developing a vision involves the determination of the goals that the e-government wants to achieve. Before any government is taking up any big project, the government normally decides on the objectives of the project proposed to be taken up. In the same way, the government has to decide on the various things it wishes to achieve by adopting e-government. The vision for e-government may provide for the development of the community in general as well as the development of the government itself.

However, the government should ensure that it makes the citizens understand its vision with respect to the development of e-government and stand committed to it. It is also necessary on the part of the government that it allows the stakeholders to take part in the decision making process of the government. The government should strive to include the citizens, businesses and the civil society in the process so that the chances of the government to implement the e-governance enhances.

Readiness for e-Governance

As far as readiness for e-government is concerned, the government has to take an inventory of assets. The government has to first assess the possessions of the government that will facilitate e-governance and the quality of such possessions. This will enable the government to identify the things, which it does not possess to implement e-government successfully. The next step in the process is to make a list of things the government should acquire to make the e-government happen. There is no set model for e-government and no universal standard for e-government readiness due to the differing needs and priorities of each society.

It is society’s most important needs that determine the necessary pre-conditions for e-government (Jeff, 2000). Strategic planning that encourages the development of networks to facilitate practical integration and interdepartmental cooperation among governmental agencies is essential to success in e-government (Sundberg & Sandberg, 2006).

The following are some of the important things that the government should concentrate on and acquire to ensure a smooth transition to e-government:

People and Skills – The government should assess the type of ICT skills possessed by the people and the level of competency possessed by them in various ICT skills. The government should also get to know that there are sufficient such people available with the necessary knowledge and skills to run the e-government projects.

Hardware, Software and Equipment – The government should make a full inventory of the types of ICT hardware/software in the possession of each government agency. The government should also assess the available equipments to know whether they are new or old. It is important that the government should have an overview of the existing physical infrastructure of the government telecommunication area.

Laws and Regulations – The government should take care that it formulates the necessary legal environment that will facilitate the development and implementation of e-government. The government as a crucial step in the process of making e-government should undertake a proper assessment of the existing policies and regulations to decide on the amendments and changes required to facilitate the implementation of the e-government happen.

Establishment of Realistic Goals

The realistic goals represent the formation of a good motto for the government that spells out the e-government goals. This implies that the government should first attempt to enter into projects which are easily manageable than those which are difficult and would involve greater capital outlay. It is also better to focus initially on critical projects with specific missions that are national priority. The process of identification of realistic goals may involve considering:

  • The framing of the list of government services that will be form part of the e-government service
  • Setting the standards for measuring the success, failure or progress made by the government over an e-government project
  • The identification of the “key agencies and champions in the government which can be directed to take the lead role in spearheading, developing, and implementing” (Pascual, n.d.) the e-government projects

Implementing Change Management

There is the necessity for the government to buy in and adopt an effective change management policy while it is attempting to implement the e-government. This is considered essential because the government should include the civil servants as participants in the initial development planning stage. This will give them a sense of ‘ownership’ of the process and the product of e-government as well.

It is important that the inputs of the civil servants is sought so that they get the feeling that they are a part of something larger than they comprehend and this will give them enough motivation for taking active part in the implementation process of e-government. This will also induce them to sell the idea of e-government to other members of the bureaucracy. The change management process may include the following important steps:

  • Developing an information awareness campaign that covers the people within the government machinery as well as the general public
  • Creating measures that will help building capabilities for developing a long-term learning process within the government machinery

Existence of Strong Political Leadership

The necessity of the presence of strong political leadership cannot be undermined in the context of the implementation of the e-government process. It is essential to have a strong and willing political leadership. This is required to ensure the success of e-government as the strong leadership ensures the “long-term commitment of financial resources, personnel, and technical expertise in the design, development, and implementation of e-government projects”.

Strong leadership implies the ability to mobilize support for the e-government projects at all levels of government, ensuring the involvement of the public by fulfilling their demands and expectations, taking the role of a catalyst for intergovernmental collaborations, possess the willingness to share the power and credit, establishment of milestones with respect to different activities and meeting such milestones and sticking to the sense of urgency to meet completion of the e-government projects within the set time schedules.

Development of Public – Private Partnerships

The development of public private partnerships is considered an important step in the development process of e-government. There are a number of factors, which influence the formation of relationships with private sector in the context of establishing e-government. Some of the reasons are:

  • There may exist some projects in which the cost may be shared with the private owners with the distinct possibility of positive return on their investments.
  • The private sector may possess valuable expertise in the areas of providing customer satisfaction, gaining additional productivity, and attaining more efficiency in the discharge of functions by personnel. This expertise of the private sector in various areas can be tapped by the government and utilized to improve the efficiency of the e-government

Principles governing the Private Sector Relationship

There are five basic principles that can be considered important in defining the relationship of the government with the private sector (Pascual, n.d.). They are:

  • Return on Investment – While the return on investment for the private sector is the revenues, for the government the return on investment is provided by the efficient and robust services. This will automatically enhanced the legitimacy and in turn trust from the citizens. For the government officials the return on investment is the improvement in skills through the adoption of new procedures and work practices. The private partnership that the government develops should provide for a proper return on investment for all concerned.
  • Minimizing ‘Brain Drain’ – It is important that the government retains the services of those staff trained in various e-government projects. For this purpose, there should be a complete change in the outlook of the government in the matter of fixing the compensation for the government officials so that they do not leave the services of the government leaving important projects in the middle and join the private sector. It may really do some good to the government to enter in to contracts with private sector not to recruit officials from important government projects.
  • Realistic Business Models for e-Government Projects – Just in the same way the companies need to understand and follow e-government principles, the government needs to understand the needs of the private sector. Stronger public private partnerships can be established if the people in the private sector understand the working and needs of the government and vice versa.
  • Assessing the Strengths of Partners – It is important that both government and business should contribute to the needs of each other so that there can be an active partnership in place. The companies can present themselves as a source for cost sharing and the source for technology and project management skills. Hence, the government should make use of these sources for the promotion of the e-government. At the same time, it is the duty of the government to create a legal environment, which helps the local companies develop and become the integral part of the e-government.
  • Developing Formal Policies on Outsourcing – It is for the government to establish clear guidelines for working with the private sector. In the present day world of outsourcing the government has to develop and make use of new types of contracts. These contracts should contain clear standards of performance, which will ensure a prompt delivery of goods and services. The standards must also measure the performance level of vendors and the quality of services received. It is very important that the government machinery be to be educated to draft, negotiate, and execute such types of contracts effectively.

Stages in E-government

In quantifying e-government development progress, government strategic planning has devised certain levels or stages, which take into account the content and deliverable services available through official websites to represent the government’s level of development. Having characterized e-government development as a linear progression, some service providers move through some stages before achieving the stated programme objectives. Most researchers and authors specified four stages of e-government development while a few list five or six stages with various names.

Many municipal governments are still in the early stages of development, stage either one or two of e-government, which involves simply posting and disseminating government information over the Web or providing online channels for two-way communication, particularly for public service requests. The study of 190 nations showed that none of the surveyed nations had achieved integration. It also showed only 17 had achieved the transaction stage, and most developing nations were at either the emergence or the broadcast stage. However, there is no specific number of stages of e-government since it varies from one researcher to another.

Due to a variety of technological, social, organizational, economic, and political reasons, e-government initiatives take time to evolve to their full potential. Therefore, e-government projects can be divided into the four stages of evolution: presence, interaction, transaction and transformation. Each successive stage represents an augmented capability to provide information and services such as interactive transactions online (E-G-K, 2002).

Within the presence stage, the critical task of building infrastructure, such as telecommunications channels, would be undertaken. In this stage, the website has basic governmental information such as downloadable information and forms. It involves the creation of a government web-portal in order to publicize government services and general information, such as consisting of a website that lists essential information on the agency. These sites would convey the government’s initiative, providing information such as business hours, addresses, lists of contact persons and phone numbers. As the most basic level of entry for e-government, this is easy and cheap to implement (Li, 2005).

At the interaction stage, necessary information and e-forms can be filed either electronically or by hand (after printing) and then sent by mail. This helps citizens avoid a trip to government offices. Database searches and e-mail communication capabilities can be used at this stage, by the organization, to provide broad and dynamic information to citizens. This includes the ability to introduce various interactive services that enable citizens to access government websites and fill out various online forms. In addition, downloaded documents, data, and other resources are accessed in a relatively simple and straightforward manner because an e-government resource identifies the closest match to a user’s basic request.

At the transaction stage, the government conducts online transactions, while financial and legal services are offered, so that citizens can complete entire transactions with government entities. Thus, services should be available for the public such as bill and fine payments and license renewals. This stage also requires that the security standards of the e-government infrastructure be improved; an objective achieved using e-signatures and certificates. This stage is more complex and more expensive to implement (Fang, 2002).

The transformation stage would strive to achieve the true vision of e-government. Thus, a dynamic transition takes place in which new technologies allow the use of information on an interdepartmental level in order to provide new types of services. It should also see a significant change in management culture and responsibility within government. At this stage, technical, fiscal and administrative constraints are the most difficult to implement (Fountain, 2001).

This has a major impact on the organization of current governmental agencies by transforming the existing structures, laws and procedures. Information communication technologies (ICTs) are fully integrated regarding government business between itself and its constituents, businesses, or other governments, allowing eligible users to access information, satisfy obligations, and apply for online services tailored to their exact needs. Equal access to both online and offline government information and services is available to all citizens, regardless of educational level, language, income or disability; universal basic literacy and widespread Internet access is established through successful implementation of sustainable universal service policies.

Implementation of E-government in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has been striving to build a state of the art e-government infrastructure that will move its economy and society into the information age. Currently it is focusing on building the first phase of the national e-government portal, which at this stage will only provide information. It will be used by content delivery options. Various government ministries are providing online services. The content and depth of these services is very poor.

The Saudi government has funded the development of an extensive information technology (IT) and telecom sector since the late 1990s (Atallah, 2001). It launched a home PC programme, which aimed at delivering one million PCs to Saudi homes within four to five years. Another policy was the introduction of Easy net, which aimed to reduce Internet access barriers. It also aimed to increase the use of the Internet throughout the country. The government also launched the national e-government programme, a national ICT plan, smart cards and Internet restructuring projects.

The Saudi e-government programme was launched in 2005 by royal decree. It includes one hundred and fifty main services. It has more than one thousand services by forty government agencies. It strives to raise the productivity and efficiency of the public sector and aims to provide better and easier G2C services for individual citizens. It also attempts to increase investments in the IT sector and enhance the integrity and access of government data. An estimated US $800 million have been invested in the implementation of e-government services and applications (Basu, 45, 2004).

Saudi Arabia’s e-government programme aims to be executed over a five-year period. It involves the provision of basic programme requirements. It first seeks to execute a number of pilot e-government projects. It identifies the priorities and sets policies, procedures and regulations regarding e-government implementation. Currently sixty percent of Saudi Arabia’s ministries have an online presence. These websites provide Arabic and English support. They provide information on various transactions, policies and procedures. They also have downloadable forms, contact information and other basic information. The Chambers of Commerce and Industry site allows users to scan and email their signatures for authentication. Similarly, the Ministry of Hajj site provides online visa services for visitors (Beatty et al, 2001).

The greatest obstacles to Internet adoption are cultural and religious factors. Conflicts exist between Islamic outlooks and Western scientific and technological practices that may create considerable obstacles. Muslims desire to be in charge of both the “immoral” medium, including pornography and access to chat rooms in which young people can discuss sex, as well as the capacity to spread nonconformist political attitudes. Among issues shaping the adoption and absorption of technology, important ones include tradition, religion, historical habits and personal aspirations for a new life.

Summary

This chapter reviewed the related literature on the topic ‘E-Government’ providing an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge on the barriers and obstacles to the implementation of e-government initiatives in any country. This chapter also presented the economic and social advantages of introducing e-governance in the country. While the chapter addressed the goals of e-government, it also elaborated the process of achieving e-government state in any country. The next chapter details the methodology adopted for conducting the research on E-Government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Research Methodology

The objective of this chapter is to present a brief outline of the research design used to conduct this research. Description of the underlying research philosophy and methodology also form part of this chapter. The chapter details the process of construction of the questionnaire, selection of samples and the validity and reliability of the testing method.

Introduction

Generally, researchers employ a number of research designs to improve the knowledge, theory and practice in different areas of social science. Epistemological and theoretical frameworks encompass wide range of qualitative and quantitative research designs to accomplish the purpose. The research methods can be categorized into;

  1. experimental,
  2. correlation,
  3. natural observation,
  4. survey and
  5. case study.

Planning and carrying out of any research in the realm of social science involved the identification and use of a suitable research design to accomplish the research objectives. Subject matter and objectives of the study influence the choice of the specific research design to be employed. Even though, there are different ways of approaching the research strategies the methods most popularly used are qualitative and quantitative research methods.

In the current study, the focus is on E-Government wherein the primary goal is to examine the implementation of E-Government applications in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. More specifically the current study attempts to enlighten readers on the challenges and obstacles in implementing E-Governance in Saudi Arabia. The study also covers the perceptions of the individual citizens of Saudi Arabia on the initiatives of the Saudi government on its e-governance initiatives.

Research Philosophy

The underlying philosophical assumption about the chosen research method is one of the important areas that deserve the attention of the researcher to assess the validity of the findings. The research philosophy covering the current study is the epistemology that steers the research through. The term ‘epistemology’ implies the assumptions about the knowledge on the subject of study and the manner in which such knowledge can be gathered (Hirschheim 1992). Guba and Lincoln (1994) have classified the underlying paradigms for qualitative research as

  1. positivism,
  2. post-positivism,
  3. critical theory and
  4. constructivism.

Orlikowski and Baroudi (1991) have identified positivist, interpretive and critical approaches to research philosophy based on the underlying research epistemology. For the purpose of the current study, the research philosophy of positivism, which encompasses study of human behavior as the basis of studying the natural sciences is adopted. The positivist approach covers the identification, measurement and evaluation of any social science issue and provides a rational explanation for the issue studied.

Positivism believes using a systematic and deductive process of collecting information by establishing casual relationships between the different variables of the subject and finding the relationship to a particular theory. The philosophy also believes that people normally react to forces external to them and such forces or stimulus can be discovered and can be described using a systematic and deductive process. Therefore, the research philosophy of positivism fits into the current research where the project is descriptive in nature and requires a qualitative approach.

Research Approach

There are two approaches to the social researches; deductive or inductive approach. According to Saunders et al (2003), the deductive approach involves the development of different hypotheses on which the researcher bases his study relating to the research. On the other hand, under the inductive approach the researcher collects the data in the first instance and thereafter assigns a new theory based on a review of the data collected.

In the instant study, the information and data on the role of leadership in change management programs will be collected and the relative effectiveness of the system due the merger activities undertaken by the company will be analyzed. In the current research relating to role of leadership in the context of change management, the study uses the inductive approach, which is considered appropriate and is being pursued for the completion of the research.

Since the inductive approach depends on the interviews and observations in natural settings it allows the researcher to develop the theories as and when the information evolve during the process of research, there is no compulsion on the part of the researcher to constrain his views in the direction of proving or disproving some pre-set hypotheses. Therefore, under the inductive approach, the researcher is mentally free to arrive at a conclusion based on the observations. Creswell (1994) points out that the inductive approach has the character of accommodating interesting and exciting themes, which are controversial as well. The current study will follow an inductive approach for collecting data and information required for completing the research.

Research Strategy

Research strategy consists of a set of techniques used for conducting the research. Though there are no prescribed rules for using any particular method, it is for the researcher to identify and use the appropriate research method that would enable the researcher to collect reliable data and information concerning the subject of the study. Data collected can be classified as either qualitative if they take the form of words that describe situations, individuals or circumstances surrounding a phenomenon. Data will be categorized as quantitative when they take the form of numbers, counts or measures to describe the observations precisely. Therefore, the fundamental classification of the research approaches has been qualitative and quantitative methods.

Quantitative Research Methods

Quantitative research methods find their origin in natural sciences where they are used to diagnose and analyze natural phenomena. Certain commonly adopted quantitative methods include survey methods, laboratory experiments, econometrics and mathematical modeling. According to White, (2000) the quantitative research method consists of investigative process that leads to research conclusions expressed in numerical values. The numerical values represent the findings of the study and the values are subjected to statistical analysis for presenting the results of the study.

Qualitative Research Methods

The main objective of developing qualitative research methods is to enable the researchers to make an in-depth study into the social and cultural phenomena. Action research, case study, ethnography are some of the techniques employed for conducting qualitative research. Creswell (1994) defines qualitative research as a process of enquiry that involves the understanding any problem connected with the social or human behavior.

The qualitative research process according to Creswel, (1994) is based on the views and perceptions of various informants being the participants to the study that are expressed in a natural setting. The data sources for supplementing qualitative research methods include observation and participant observation (fieldwork), structured and semi structured interviews, focus groups and questionnaires, documents and texts.

The data may also be provided by the impressions and reactions of the researcher himself/herself. Authors like Denzin and Lincoln (2005), Miles and Huberman (1994) Rubin and Rubin (1995) have contributed a great deal to the qualitative techniques of data collection. Sivlerman (1993) and Myers and Newman (2007) have evolved definite guidelines for conducting qualitative interviews based on a dramaturgical model.

Research Methodology

Another popular method of collecting primary data from informed sources is the survey method. Denscombe (1998) points out the major objective of a survey are to gather a detailed expression of opinions on the information collected so that they can be used for mapping.

Survey method has become popular because it serves to collect information, which is both quantitative and numerical. The information and data also represents some part of the total population in the form of samples and the information is gathered through intelligent questions being put to the samples (see Creswell, 1994; Neuman, 2002; Fink, 1995). Usually the survey method facilitates the results to be generalized. The reason for this phenomenon is that there is a possibility to allow a large volume of sample to take part and respond to the survey questionnaire. However, the survey method suffers from a drawback in that sometimes the response rate may be very low vitiating the results of the study. (Aaker, Kumar & Day, 1995)

With a view to make a comprehensive and analytical report on the effectiveness of advertising strategies of automobile companies in creating a positive attitude in the mindset of UK customers, this study used the survey method. The method has been chosen with the objective of collecting information that describes, compare or explain the attitudinal and behavioral aspects of the samples, which help in arriving at some plausible answers for the research issues.

The primary data was collected by a self-administered questionnaire distributed to the selected sample population in this research. A questionnaire is a document containing questions and other types of items designed to solicit information appropriate for analysis. This involved drawing on existing research in the area of implementation of E-Government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Questionnaires are the instrument of choice for many researchers working in various fields, theoretical traditions and research designs (Creswell 2003, Bryman 2004), no doubt because they are seen as the most appropriate tool to obtain systematic and comparable data from a large number of individuals and analyze it economically (De Witte and van Muijen 1999, Fogelman 2002).

Questionnaire method has the advantage of simplicity in use and easy to customize. Questionnaire enables the researcher to gather precise quantitative information presentable visually. Lower response rate is one of the shortcomings of the questionnaire method. Since the questionnaire contains basic and simple questions, it may not be possible for the researcher to collect in-depth data and information.

Secondary Research

Secondary research consists of the analysis of information and data gathered previously by other people like researchers, institutions and other non-governmental organizations. The data are usually collected for some other purposes other than one, which is being presently attempted, or it may help both the collection of data for both the studies (Cnossen, 1997). When undertaken with proper care and diligence secondary research can prove to be a cost-effective method in gaining better understanding of the specific issue being studied and conducting assessments of issues that do not need collection of primary data. The main advantage of secondary data is that it provides the basis for designing the primary research and often it is possible to compare the results of the primary research with secondary research results (Novak, 1996).

Data analysis and review in the secondary research method involves the collection and analysis of wide range of information. In order to conduct an efficient research it is important that a statement of purpose is developed first and a detailed definition of the purpose of the research is arrived at. It is also necessary that a proper research design be evolved. The statement of purpose is to have a clear understanding of the reasons for collecting the kind of data and the type of data the researcher wants to collect and analyze.

This will help the researcher to stay focused on the topic under study and prevent from becoming overwhelmed with large volume of data. Research design can be defined as a systematic plan, which shows the researcher the direction of data collection and analysis. The secondary data review normally involves designing the outline of what the researcher wants to study, the format of final report, list of type of data and a list of data sources that may be used for collection of data.

Saunders et al (2003) feel that the secondary data possess greater value since a number of sources are being used for collection of data. However, Walliman (2005) considers the secondary data as having a shortcoming in which the reliability of such data is always questionable. He further states that since the secondary data are passed on through several hands there is the possibility that such data might contain errors that can vitiate the results of the study and disturb the focus and direction of the research.

Data Collection

The data required for completing the current study on the implementation of E-government has been collected through the questionnaire circulated to selected samples. The design of the questionnaire and the validity and reliability of the testing method are discussed in the following sections.

Design of Questionnaire

In order to yield meaningful results Rummel and Ballaine (1963) advise that the length of the questionnaire should be kept at an appropriate level so that it is not too long to make the respondents consider that it is a time consuming task to reply to the questions. There are three essential elements, which need to be taken into account while designing the questionnaire;

  1. the questions should be short and should have the ability to convey the intended meaning,
  2. the questions should be simple and clear and
  3. the questionnaire should be focused on the subject being studied.

Considering these basic requirements, the questionnaire has been constructed as having four different parts as exhibited in the Appendix 1. The questionnaire used multiple-choice and scale type closed ended questions for collecting the responses from the samples (except for Part IV). Lickert scale (1-5) was used to rank and identify the observations of the respondents on the e-government initiatives of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Different parts of the questionnaire were constructed to accommodate the following information mentioned against each part.

  • Part I – Demographic details of the respondents – to gather the information on the gender, age, education, technical knowledge, employment and income level.
  • Part II – contained questions on the access to the computers and internet and on awareness of the e-government system.
  • Part III – contained questions on the perceptions of the individual respondents on the challenges and obstacles to the implementation of the e-governance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Part IV – contained an open-ended question on the perceptions of the individuals about any other obstacle that has not been listed in Part III.

Validity and Reliability of Testing

Gay, (1996) pointed out that content validity is determined by expert judgment while face validity is achieved by asking individuals similar to those the researcher wants to study. Best (1981) stated that the only measure of validity available to survey instruments is the scrutiny and considered judgment of subject-matter specialists. The pilot study was used to revise the surveys and identify the proper questions. The validity of the instrument was checked in different ways. The clarity and readability of the questions was tested through the pilot study. The researcher made recommended changes, and used the suggestions in developing the applied instrument. Because the official language is Arabic in Saudi Arabia, the researcher had to translate the questionnaire into Arabic.

Pilot Study

The pilot study of the questionnaire was conducted to assure validity. The pilot study served as a “small scale trial of the proposed procedures” in order to identify any problems that needed resolution prior to the implementation of the actual study (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2002). Gay (1996) stated that the pilot test of reliability is determined by testing the same participants with the same instrument at different times, not less than one week apart. The pilot study was conducted to test the validity of the survey instruments, and to determine its content validity and understanding. The instruments were sent to a number of participants chosen conveniently work roles are highly related to the implementation of E-government.

Reliability

Reliability refers to the property of a measurement instrument that causes it to give similar results for inputs. Gay (1992) pointed out that reliability is the degree to which a test consistently measures whatever it measures. Thus, if the measuring instrument repeatedly gives the same results of the same object, it is reliable. Gravetter & Wallnau (1996) stated that a measurement procedure is considered reliable to the extent that it produces stable and consistent measurements. A reliable measurement procedure produces the same, or nearly the same, scores when the same individuals are measured under the same conditions.

Population and Sampling

A sample may be defined as a subset of a larger aggregation namely the total population that the researcher would like to study. Sampling methods generally fall under probability sampling and non-probability sampling each of which has distinct characteristic features. While the samples under probability sampling are selected using a random procedure samples under non-probability sampling are selected based on convenience. Non-probability sampling follows a purposive method while probability sampling follows a stratified selection.

Questionnaire for the survey under current study were distributed to 420 participants in four institutions out of which 42 were returned. 21 were excluded from the study since they were deemed incomplete, and another 57 having their values missing were eliminated from the process. The final sample size was 300 individuals whose work roles are highly related to the implementation of E-government.

Summary

This chapter accomplished its objective of providing the reader an insight into the research design and the research process followed by the study. The research adopted the research philosophy of positivism using the inductive approach. The research is supplemented by the quantitative method of survey using a predesigned questionnaire circulated to randomly selected samples. The questionnaire was distributed to the probable respondents after conducting a pilot study. The questionnaire was constructed based on the knowledge on the subject obtained on the review of the related literature on the subject.

Findings and Analysis

This chapter presents the results of the survey followed by a detailed discussion on the findings of the survey. The data and information collected are analyzed using statistical methods and are presented in the form of graphs and tables. The findings are compared with the results of the past research reviewed in the related literature.

Introduction

Based on the purpose of the study, a quantitative research design was used as a descriptive study. A descriptive study was conducted to explain all the variables since descriptive research is a necessary first step to ensure that an accurate description of the phenomenon exists prior to change interventions. To obtain the required data needed to address the research questions posed in this study, a questionnaire was sent to 300 individuals working in IT department at four different organisations in Saudi Arabia. 70 questionnaires were sent to ministry of high education, 132 questionnaires were sent to the Saudi customs, 56 questionnaires were sent to the Ministry of interior and the remaining 42 questionnaires were sent to the Hajj Ministry.

Research Hypotheses

On the review of the related literature, the following hypotheses were developed to supplement the research on the implementation of e-government initiatives by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

  • Hypothesis 1: There is no statistically significant relationship between government policies and the current constraints in the implementation of e-government institutions.
  • Hypothesis 2: There is no statistically significant relationship between the current financial systems and constraints in the implementation of e-government institutions.
  • Hypothesis 3: There is no statistically significant relationship between technological systems and the current constraints in the implementation of e-government institutions.
  • Hypothesis 4: There is no statistically significant relationship between regulatory regimes and the current constraints in the implementation of e-government institutions.
  • Hypothesis 5: There is no statistically significant relationship between social systems and the current constraints in the implementation of e-government institutions.

Research Method

This research adopted a descriptive approach based on the analytical nature of the topic, as was access to product information and reference books and scientific research of the specialized scientific journals, was also obtained preliminary information from the resolutions that had been prepared for this purpose using the method of statistical analysis (SPSS)

Field study

Approach to the study

In addition to the analytical and descriptive approaches to the scientific method in the study, this study applied the SPSS statistical analysis method. This exercise was undertaken after the field study concerning “the impact of various types of constraints have a negative impact on the implementation of e-government project in Saudi Arabia,” through the resolutions that had been prepared for this purpose.

The study used the questionnaire as the researcher tool for the collection of primary data related to the direct subject of the study. In the light of the objectives of the study, the resolution has

been divided into three parts as follows:

  • Part I: personal information (sex, age, monthly income) and the type of questions from multiple choices (three questions).
  • Part II: consists of seven questions of the type (yes, no) regarding the services and resources available to the people, and the extent of knowledge of e-government and the preference for them.
  • Part III: consists of 41 questions to ask individuals about their perceptions of the various causes that impede the implementation of e-government, which is the type of questions (strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree)

Table 1 Categories and coding of part III questions choices.

Categories strongly agree agree neutral Disagree strongly disagree
Coding 1 2 3 4 5

Ratification of the Measure

In order to ratify the measure the researcher calculated internal consistency of the questionnaire on a sample of 50 to identify and calculate the correlation coefficient between each obstacle and the degree to the overall resolution of the obstacles.

Table 2 shows the correlation coefficients between each obstacle of first group and class to the obstacles of the overall resolution, which shows that the correlation coefficients indicated a function at the level of moral (0.05, 0.01) and as such it is a genuine resolution to the clauses designed to measure.

Table 2 Correlation coefficients and the degree of constraints on the Overall resolution.

Correlations(a)
inadequate individual legal right lack of support from political leadership Lack of appropriate laws to govern Internet usage
inadequate individual legal right Pearson Correlation 1 .082 -.268(*)
Sig. (1-tailed) . .285 .030
lack of support from political leadership Pearson Correlation .082 1 -.582(**)
Sig. (1-tailed) .285 . .000
Lack of appropriate laws to govern Internet usage Pearson Correlation -.268(*) -.582(**) 1
Sig. (1-tailed) .030 .000 .
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (1-tailed).
** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (1-tailed).
a List wise N=50

Statistical Treatment

Handling and analysis of resolution was managed through the statistical program SPSS and the following statistical tests were conducted for the analysis of the data collected.

  1. Percentage and Frequencies
  2. Pearson Correlation Coefficient – to measure the sincerity of obstacles
  3. Kolmogorov – Smirnov Test to determine whether the type of data layers follow the normal distribution or not?
  4. Reference test sign test.
Normal Distribution Test

Used the test to determine whether the data follow the normal distribution or not. This test is necessary in the case of hypothesis testing, because most parametric tests require the distribution of natural data.

Table 3 Normal Distribution Test.

One-Sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test
inadequate individual legal right Limited budgets for spending on IT Inadequate software programs to run e-government Lack of dissemination programs to promote e-government benefits and advantages Lack of society’s awareness about e-government advantages and benefits
N 300 300 300 300 300
Normal Parameters(a,b) Mean 1.7333 4.3667 4.4333 2.2733 2.7400
Std. Deviation .82330 1.19596 .89530 1.48750 1.40439
Most Extreme Differences Absolute .313 .465 .340 .291 .278
Positive .313 .298 .263 .291 .278
Negative -.187 -.465 -.340 -.196 -.162
Kolmogorov-Smirnov Z 5.429 8.056 5.888 5.035 4.807
Asymp. Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
a Test distribution is Normal.
b Calculated from data.

Table 3 shows the number of test results, where the value of the level of significance less than 0.05 (sig. <= 0.05), this indicates that the data do not follow the normal distribution, and therefore must be used non-parametric tests.

Findings

This study assessed the challenges and obstacles that hinder the progress of the E-government implementation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As observed form the review of the related literature, a list of various obstacles was presented to the respondents to identify the relative significance of the obstacles in their perceptions. The results of the survey has been analyzed statistically and presented in the following sections to be followed by a detailed analysis of the findings of the research.

Demographic Details

Table 4 Demographic Information of the Respondents.

Gender Count Percent
Male 300 100%
Age Count Percent
Less than 25 years 101 33.67 %
31 –35 80 26.67%
36-40 53 17.67%
41-45 52 17.33%
46-50 14 4.67%
Monthly Income Count Percent
□ 5,000 SR or less 150 50%
□ 5,001-10,000 SR 65 21.67%
□ 10,001-15,000 SR 24 8%
□ 15,001-20,000 SR 45 15%
□ 20,001 SR or more 16 5.33%

Observations can be extrapolated from the results of the research as provided in the above table:

Gender

Table 5 Frequencies and percentages of gender subject.

Frequency Percent
Valid male 300 100%
Chart of gender results.
Figure 1 Chart of gender results.
Age

Table 6 Frequencies and percentages of “Age”.

Frequency Percent
Valid less than 25 years 101 33.67%
from 31 to 40 80 26.67%
from 41 to 50 53 17.67%
from 51 to 60 52 17.33%
over 60 14 4.67%
Total 300 100%
Age-wise Distribution of Samples.
Figure 2 Age-wise Distribution of Samples.
Monthly income

Table 7 Frequencies and percentages of “Monthly income”.

Frequency Percent
Valid 5000 SR or less 150 50.0%
5001 to 10000 SR 65 21.7%
10001 to 15000 SR 24 8.0%
15001 to 20000 SR 45 15.0%
20001 SR or more 16 5.3%
Total 300 100%
"Monthly income" Distribution of Samples.
Figure 3 “Monthly income” Distribution of Samples.

Findings on Awareness of E-Governance and Access to Internet

Table 8 Results of Awareness of E-Governance and Access to Internet.

have easy access to the Internet Count Percent
Yes 138 46%
No 162 54%
have a personal computer at home Count Percent
Yes 111 37%
No 189 63%
have Internet services in office Count Percent
Yes 65 21.67%
No 235 78.33%
prefer to put e-government in place Count Percent
Yes 186 62%
No 114 38%
have a computer in office Count Percent
Yes 184 61.33%
No 116 38.67%
have knowledge of e-government Count Percent
Yes 273 91%
No 27 9%
have Internet services at home Count Percent
Yes 124 41.33%
No 176 58.67%
Have easy access to internet

Table 9 Frequencies and percentages of “Have easy access to internet”.

Frequency Percent
Valid yes 138 46.0%
no 162 54.0%
Total 300 100%
Chart of "Have easy access to internet" results.
Figure 4 Chart of “Have easy access to internet” results.
Have a personal computer at home

Table 10 Frequencies and percentages of “Have a personal computer at home”.

Frequency Percent
Valid yes 111 37.0%
no 189 63.0%
Total 300 100%
Chart of "Have a personal computer at home" results.
Figure 5 Chart of “Have a personal computer at home” results.
Have internet access in office

Table 11 Frequencies and percentages of “Have internet access in office”.

Frequency Percent
Valid yes 65 21.7%
no 235 78.3%
Total 300 100%
Chart of "Have internet access in office" results.
Figure 6 Chart of “Have internet access in office” results.
Prefer to have e. government in place

Table 12 Frequencies and percentages of “Prefer to have e. government in place”.

Frequency Percent
Valid yes 186 62.0%
no 114 38.0%
Total 300 100%
Chart of "Prefer to have e. government in place" results.
Figure 7 Chart of “Prefer to have e. government in place” results.
Have a personal computer in office

Table 13 Frequencies and percentages of “Have a personal computer in office”.

Frequency Percent
Valid yes 184 61.3%
no 116 38.7%
Total 300 100%
Chart of "Have a personal computer in office" results.
Figure 8 Chart of “Have a personal computer in office” results.
Have knowledge of e-government

Table 14 Frequencies and percentages of “Have knowledge of e-government”.

Frequency Percent
Valid yes 273 91.0%
no 27 9.0%
Total 300 100%
Chart of "Have knowledge of e-government" results.
Figure 9 Chart of “Have knowledge of e-government” results.
Have internet access at home

Table 15 Frequencies and percentages of “have internet access at home”.

Frequency Percent
Valid yes 124 41.3%
no 176 58.7%
Total 300 100%
Chart of "Have internet access at home" results.
Figure 10 Chart of “Have internet access at home” results.

Analysis of Demographic Details

All members of the sample survey of males (300, 100%).this is due mainly because of the difficulty of dealing with each other sex in the KSA and the prohibition of mixing and it is also easier to commented with males. This also shows the cultural background of the country, which has been one of the hindrances in the implementation of e-government applications as identified by the literature. Among issues shaping the adoption and absorption of technology, important ones include tradition, religion, historical habits and personal aspirations for a new life. However being predominantly a religion-based government, the participation of women in e-governance, remains a question mark in the Kingdom.

The second age group (from 25 to 30) did not participate in any individual sample. Because of the second Gulf war (in the reign of King Fahd), which have resulted in economic changes in the region, there was a gap between the generations in recruitment, as no recruitments were made at this point of time. This fact has been reflected in the survey clearly. Nevertheless, this age group constitutes an important segment for the continuance of the e-government initiatives. Lack of knowledge of the internet as well as the e-government applications and usage among the people in these age groups is definitely an impediment for the implementation of the e-government applications in the Kingdom.

Half of the participants in the referendum are below the income level according to least-resolution (150 by 50%), indicating that the proportion of high incomes is less among the respondents. This is due to the existence of an economic crisis in Saudi Arabia in this period, leading to not getting the appropriate dues. The low-income level of the citizens is also an obstacle in the implementation of e-government.

Analysis of Awareness of E-Governance and Access to Internet

More than half of the samples (162 individuals, 54%) do not have easy access to the Internet, and this does not fit the information revolution and technological developments, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The country has just one company providing internet (STC) with low internet speed. The cost of high-speed internet is high at 900 SR for 8m, which makes it unaffordable for normal citizen. This surely hampers the implementation of e-government in the country. As observed by Hakikur (2007), the costs to the government will escalate when it wants to provide more sophisticated and complicated kinds of service. Certain e-government applications require considerable investment in national IT infrastructure.

It is observed from the results that almost two thirds (189, 63%) do not have computers at home. This is a very large proportion, which lack the knowledge of the computer operations in the society. This is due to the lack of systems and prices to help students of universities and institutes and this leads to lack of awareness in schools of education about the computer and internet, which will hinder the promotion of e-government initiatives by the government. High cost of programs in Saudi Arabia and the lack of original software with parent company affects the development of proper computer awareness among the citizens. The software does not support the program and the companies do no update the original, and this in turn leads to obstruction of the program work.

One person out of every five persons (65, 21.67%) have the Internet at work, it is a very small proportion which clearly shows a lack of Internet service at the required level at the institutions and the workplace, leading to lack of coherence among organizations. This situation calls for an urgent institution of Internet at work so that thee-government initiatives can be speeded up. Literature observes that the ability to use computers and the Internet has become a crucial success factor in e-government implementation, and the lack of such skills may lead to marginalization or even social exclusion (UNPA & ASPA, 2001). Those who do not have access to the Internet will be unable to benefit from online services (OECD, 2003). Thus, digital divide is “the gap between those with access to computers and the internet and those without” (Blau, 2002).

62% of respondents (186 persons) prefer to have the existence of e-government in the workplace; This is understandable from the point of view that it would give them some sort of comfort and flexibility in their work. Perhaps some want to take advantage of the implementation of e-government, is to benefit a personal or family.

The proportion of 61.33% of the respondents (184) has computers at work, which can be considered as a favorable situation to the implementation of e-government. An equal l proportion of the respondents preferred the application of e-government at work, which demonstrates the desire of them to use the computer for easier and more productive work.

A large proportion of respondents (273, 91%) are aware of the implementation of e-government programs, which demonstrates the knowledge of members of the community information. Nevertheless, inadequate knowledge of the actual situation of e-government would hamper the implementation process. This implies that every employee who has knowledge of Information Technology has the knowledge of e-Governance, because the e-Government Program has been sufficiently explained to him by the superiors, as it is their responsibility to explain to their staff.

Less than half of the samples (124, 41.33%) have Internet service at home. This implies that a large percentage has not kept pace with modern progress.

Analysis of Hypotheses

The following tables show the percentage of the alternatives of each paragraph, as well as the arithmetic average and the level of significance of each paragraph, and paragraph a positive sense that members of the community agree with the content if the arithmetic mean greater than 3 (neutral center) and the moral level of less than 0.05, and the paragraph that the negative sense of community do not agree with the content if the value of the arithmetic average of less than 3 (neutral center) and the moral level of less than 0.05, The views of the community in a neutral paragraph if the level of moral greater than 0.05, and this applies to all paragraphs in the questionnaire of the study. The Sign Test used, its not- metrical test used in the case of data that do not follow the normal distribution.

Hypothesis 1

There is no statistically significant relationship between government policies and the current constraints in the implementation of e-government institutions.

To examine this hypothesis was the use of Sign Test, find percentages, the arithmetic average and the level of morale of the obstacles of the Political group, and the results are shown in table 16.

Table 16 shows that the views of members of the sample in the obstacle 2 is positive as the level of significance less than 0.05 and the arithmetic average of the center with the largest neutral (3), namely that the members of the sample agreed that Lack of support from political leadership is affecting the implementation of e-Government.

Table 16 also shows that the views of members of the sample in the obstacle 1, 3 where the negative terms that the arithmetic average of each of them less than the neutral center-3, and the level of the moral of each obstacle is less than 0.05 means that the members of the sample agree that both of Inadequate individual legal right and Lack of appropriate laws to govern Internet usage do not hinder the implementation of e-government.

Table 16 Percentage of obstacle alternatives, the arithmetic average, and The level of significance of each obstacle – “Political obstacles”

Obstacle
Group
Obstacle strongly disagree disagree neutral agree Strongly
agree
arithmetic average The level of moral
Political 1- Inadequate individual legal right. 150 82 66 2 0 1.7333 0.000
2- Lack of support from political leadership. 9 60 15 28 188 4.0867 0.000
3- Lack of appropriate laws to govern Internet usage. 131 54 55 14 46 2.3000 0.000
The overall level of political obstacles 2.7067 0.000

In general, Table 16 shows that the arithmetic average rate of political obstacles is equal to 2.7067 and the level of significance equal to 0.00, which is less than 0.05, which means accepting zero’s hypothesis, which says: there is no statistically significant relationship between political obstacles and the lack of implementation of e-government in Saudi Arabia.

Hypothesis 2

There is no statistically significant relationship between the current financial systems and constraints in the implementation of e-government institutions.

To examine this hypothesis was the use of Sign Test, find percentages, the arithmetic average and the level of morale of the obstacles of the financial group, and the results are shown in table 17.

Table 17 Percentage of obstacle alternatives, the arithmetic average, and The level of significance of each obstacle – “Financial obstacles”

Obstacle group Obstacle Strongly
disagree
disagree neutral agree strongly agree arithmetic average The level of moral
Financial 4- Limited budgets for spending on IT 7 39 20 5 229 4.3667 0.000
5- High price of IT 32 6 28 12 222 4.2867 0.000
6- High cost of telecommunication/Internet services 95 67 82 4 52 2.5033 0.000
The overall level of financial obstacles 3.7189 0.000

Table 17 shows that the views of members of the sample in the obstacles 4, 5 are positive as the level of significance less than 0.05 and the arithmetic average of the center with the largest neutral (3), namely that the members of the sample agreed that limited budgets for spending on IT and high price of IT are affecting the implementation of e-Government.

Table 17 also shows that the views of members of the sample in obstacle 6 where the negative terms that the arithmetic average of it less than the neutral center (3), and the level of the moral of the obstacle is less than 0.05 means that the members of the sample agree that high cost of telecommunications & Internet services does not affect in the implementation of e-government.

In general, Table 17 shows that the arithmetic average rate of financial obstacles is equal to 3.7189 and the level of significance equal to 0.00, which is less than 0.05, which means refusing zero’s hypothesis. Therefore, there is a statistically significant relationship between the current financial systems and constraints in the implementation of e-government institutions in Saudi Arabia.

Hypothesis 3

There is no statistically significant relationship between technological systems and the current constraints in the implementation of e-government institutions.

To examine this hypothesis was the use of Sign Test, find percentages, the arithmetic average and the level of morale of the obstacles of the Technological group, and the results are shown in table 4.17.

Table 18 Percentage of obstacle alternatives, the arithmetic average, and the level of significance of each obstacle “Technological obstacles”

Obstacle
Group
Obstacle strongly
disagree
disagree neutral agree strongly agree arithmetic average The level of moral
Technological 7- Inadequate software programs to run e-government 9 5 14 91 181 4.4333 0.000
8- Insufficient support for internet devices 7 21 28 55 189 4.3267 0.000
9- Lack of on-line verification/authentication of users 189 71 26 5 9 1.5800 0.000
10- Computer usage is not widely spread among the population people 97 38 7 26 132 3.1933 0.000
11- Limited postal services to support e-government 266 20 5 9 0 1.1900 0.000
12- Weak IT infrastructures 213 47 16 11 13 1.5467 0.000
13- Lack of e-payment infrastructure 0 18 8 67 207 4.4833 0.000
14- Inadequate phone lines 7 19 5 16 253 4.6300 0.000
15- Difficulties in keeping up with current. 190 79 13 0 18 1.5900 0.000
16- Inadequate network security 267 17 8 8 0 1.1900 0.000
17- Weakness of telecommunication infrastructure 5 240 17 24 14 2.3400 0.000
The overall level of technological obstacles 2.7730 0.000

Table 18 shows that the views of members of the sample in obstacles 7, 8, 10, 13, 14 are positive as the level of significance less than 0.05 and the arithmetic average of the center with the largest neutral (3), namely that the members of the sample agreed that Inadequate software programs to run e-government, Insufficient support for internet devices, Computer usage is not widely spread among the population people, Lack of e-payment infrastructure, and Inadequate phone lines affect in the implementation of e-Government.

Table 18 also shows the views of members of the sample in obstacles 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17. In this case, where the negative terms has the arithmetic average of less than the neutral center (3), and the level of the moral of the obstacle less than 0.05, it implies that the respondents to the survey agree that; Lack of on-line verification/authentication of users Limited postal services to support e-government, Weak IT infrastructures, Difficulties in keeping up with current, Inadequate network security, and Weakness of telecommunication infrastructure do not affect the implementation of e-government.

In general, Table 18 shows that the arithmetic average rate of financial obstacles is equal to 2.7730 and the level of significance equal to 0.00, which is less than 0.05, which means accepting zero’s hypothesis, which says: there is no statistically significant relationship between the current technological systems and constraints in the implementation of e-government institutions in Saudi Arabia.

Hypothesis 4

There is no statistically significant relationship between regulatory regimes and the current constraints in the implementation of e-government institutions.

To examine this hypothesis was the use of Sign Test, find percentages, the arithmetic average and the level of morale of the obstacles of the organizational group, and the results are shown in table 19.

Table 19 Percentage of obstacle alternatives, the arithmetic average, and The level of significance of each obstacle “Organizational obstacles”

Obstacle
Group
Obstacle Strongly
disagree
disagree neutral Agree strongly
agree
arithmetic average The level of moral
Organizational 18- Lack of dissemination programs to promote e-government benefits and advantages 146 47 20 53 34 2.2733 0.000
19- Lack of cooperation between public and private sector in IT 199 24 42 9 26 1.7967 0.000
20- Lack of advisory committees or task forces to implement e-government projects 49 36 116 31 68 3.1100 0.000
21- Complexity of current administrative procedures 213 23 17 33 14 1.7067 0.000
22- Lack of support from upper management 36 16 51 67 130 3.7967 0.000
23- Lack of strategic planning 288 5 7 0 0 1.0633 0.000
24- Weak current administrative systems 178 81 34 0 7 1.5900 0.000
25- Little collaboration among governmental agencies 18 122 49 48 63 3.0533 0.000
26- Lack of reengineering of procedures and operations 123 104 12 20 41 2.1733 0.000
27- Lack of central authority at the country level for e-government applications 208 66 26 0 0 1.7000 0.000
28- Lack of clear vision about e-government project 28 53 92 47 80 3.3267 0.000
29- Inadequacy of qualified personnel for e-government applications 154 47 68 0 31 2.0233 0.000
30- Staff resistance to change 212 32 20 36 0 1.6000 0.000
The overall level of organizational obstacles 2.2472 0.000

Table 19 shows that the views of members of the sample in obstacles 20, 22, 25, 28 are positive as the level of significance less than 0.05 and the arithmetic average of the center with the largest neutral (3), namely that the members of the sample agreed that Lack of advisory committees or task forces to implement e-government projects, Lack of support from upper management, Little collaboration among governmental agencies, and Lack of clear vision about e-government project affect the implementation of e-government.

Table 19 also shows that the views of members of the sample in obstacles 18, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 27 where the negative terms that the arithmetic average of it less than the neutral center (3), and the level of the moral of the obstacle is less than 0.05 means that the members of the sample agree that Lack of dissemination programs to promote e-government benefits and advantages, Lack of cooperation between public and private sector in IT, Complexity of current administrative procedures, Lack of strategic planning, Weak current administrative systems, Lack of reengineering of procedures and operations, Lack of central authority at the country level for e-government applications, Inadequacy of qualified personnel for e-government applications, and Staff resistance to change do not affect in the implementation of e-government.

In general, Table 19 shows that the arithmetic average rate of financial obstacles is equal to 2.2472 and the level of significance equal to 0.00, which is less than 0.05, which means accepting zero’s hypothesis which says: there is no statistically significant relationship between the current regulatory regimes or organizational systems and constraints in the implementation of e-government institutions in Saudi Arabia.

Hypothesis 5

There is no statistically significant relationship between social systems and the current constraints in the implementation of e-government institutions.

To examine this hypothesis was the use of Sign Test, find percentages, the arithmetic average and the level of morale of the obstacles of the Social Infrastructure group, and the results are shown in table 20.

Table 20 Percentage of obstacle alternatives, the arithmetic average, and The level of significance of each obstacle “Social Infrastructure obstacles”

Obstacle
Group
Obstacle Strongly
Disagree
disagree neutral agree strongly
agree
arithmetic average The level of moral
Social
Infrastructure
31- Lack of society’s awareness about e-government advantages and benefits 60 113 23 53 51 2.7400 0.000
32- Low levels of literacy among citizens 40 59 53 16 132 3.4700 0.000
33- Lack of trust in e-dealings 166 28 83 7 16 1.9300 0.000
34- Technology usage conflicts with cultural habits 19 29 27 185 40 3.6600 0.000
35- Lack of computer literacy among citizens 0 9 13 75 203 4.5733 0.000
36- Technology usage conflicts with religious tenets 0 0 19 6 275 4.8533 0.000
37- Lack of Internet access among various sections of population 252 14 17 12 5 1.3467 0.000
38- Lack of necessary skills for e-government applications 32 11 152 86 19 3.1633 0.000
39- Dependence of Internet usage on the English language 109 50 102 8 31 2.3400 0.000
40- Low level of citizen income 17 0 19 47 217 4.4900 0.000
41- Uncertainties about the benefits of the use of new. 193 62 11 8 26 1.7067 0.000
The overall level of Social Infrastructure obstacles 2.6364 0.000

Table 20 shows the views of members of the sample in obstacles 32, 34, 35, 36, 38, 40. These values are positive, as the level of significance is less than 0.05 and the arithmetic average of the center with the largest neutral (3) imply that the members of the sample agreed that; lack of society’s awareness about e-government advantages and benefits, lack of trust in e-dealing, lack of Internet access among various sections of population, dependence of Internet usage on the English language, and uncertainties about the benefits of the use of new system affect the implementation of e-government.

Table 20 also shows that the views of members of the sample in obstacles 31, 33, 37, 39, 41. In this table the negative terms in which the arithmetic average of less than the neutral center (3), and the level of the moral of the obstacle is less than 0.05 imply that the respondents agree that; Low levels of literacy among citizens, Technology usage conflicts with cultural habits, Lack of computer literacy among citizens, Technology usage conflicts with religious tenets, Lack of necessary skills for e-government applications, and Low level of citizen income do not affect in the implementation of e-government.

In general, Table 20 shows that the arithmetic average rate of financial obstacles is equal to 2.6364 and the level of significance equal to 0.00, which is less than 0.05, which means accepting zero’s hypothesis, which says: there is no statistically significant relationship between the current social systems and constraints in the implementation of e-government institutions in Saudi Arabia.

Evaluation of Data on Overall Obstacles

From Figure 11 and the previous tables of the obstacles we can be concluded as follows:

For the political obstacles, in the opinion of 18.59% of the sample, these constraints have a negative effect on the implementation of e-government.

  1. inadequate individual legal right, the choice of 21.35%
  2. Lack of support from political leadership, the choice of 50.33%
  3. Lack of appropriate laws to govern Internet usage, the choice of 28.33%
Chart of Evaluation of Data on overall obstacles.
Figure 11 Chart of Evaluation of Data on overall obstacles.

For the financial obstacles, in the opinion of 25.54% of the sample, these constraints have a negative effect on the implementation of e-government.

  • Limited budgets for spending on IT, the choice of 39.14%
  • High price of IT , the choice of 38.42%
  • High cost of telecommunication/Internet services, the choice of 22.44%

For the technological obstacles, in the opinion of 19.04% of the sample, these constraints have a negative effect on the implementation of e-government.

  • Inadequate software programs to run e-government, the choice of 14.53%
  • Insufficient support for internet devices, the choice of 14.18%
  • Lack of on-line verification/authentication of users, the choice of 5.18%
  • Computer usage is not widely spread among the population people, the choice of 10.47%
  • Limited postal services to support e-government, the choice of 3.90%
  • Weak IT infrastructures, the choice of 5.07%
  • Lack of e-payment infrastructure, the choice of 14.70%
  • Inadequate phone lines, the choice of 15.18%
  • Difficulties in keeping up with current technological advancements and rapid changes, the choice of 5.21%
  • Inadequate network security, the choice of 3.90%
  • Weakness of telecommunication infrastructure, the choice of 7.67%

For the Internal Organizational obstacles, in the opinion of 15.43% of the sample, these constraints have a negative effect on the implementation of e-government.

  • Lack of dissemination programs to promote e-government benefits and advantages, the choice of 7.78%
  • Lack of cooperation between public and private sector in IT, the choice of 6.15%
  • Lack of advisory committees or task forces to implement e-government projects, the choice of 10.65%
  • Complexity of current administrative procedures, the choice of 5.84%
  • Lack of support from upper management, the choice of 13.00%
  • Lack of strategic planning, the choice of 3.64%
  • Little collaboration among governmental agencies, the choice of 5.44%
  • Weak current administrative systems, the choice of 10.45%
  • Lack of reengineering of procedures and operations, the choice of 7.44%
  • Lack of central authority at the country level for e-government applications, the choice of 5.82%
  • Lack of clear vision about e-government project, the choice of 11.39%
  • Inadequacy of qualified personnel for e-government applications, the choice of 6.93%
  • Staff resistance to change, the choice of 5.48%

For the Social Infrastructure Obstacles, in the opinion of 21.40% of the sample, these constraints have a negative effect on the implementation of e-government.

  • Lack of society’s awareness about e-government advantages and benefits, the choice of 7.99%
  • Low levels of literacy among citizens, the choice of 10.12%
  • Lack of trust in e-dealings, the choice of 5.63%
  • Technology usage conflicts with cultural habits, the choice of 10.68%
  • Lack of computer literacy among citizens, the choice of 13.34%
  • Technology usage conflicts with religious tenets, the choice of 14.16%
  • Lack of Internet access among various sections of population, the choice of 3.93%
  • Lack of necessary skills for e-government applications, the choice of 9.23%
  • Dependence of Internet usage on the English language, the choice of 6.83%
  • Low level of citizen income, the choice of 13.10%
  • Uncertainties about the benefits of the use of new technology, the choice of 4. %

Research Questions

Based on the findings of the study the theoretical support to the research questions has been established and presented below:

What is the present state of e-government applications in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?

The e-government implementation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia though has been found to advance in the recent past, it cannot be said that the e-government applications have taken full shape in the Kingdom. Still there are several challenges and obstacles exist that need to be addressed by the government. The survey reveals that financial issues pose the major obstacle for the implementation of the e-government applications closely followed by social obstacles. This result coincides with the theoretical aspects as discussed in the review of the literature. Several social and cultural factors come in the way of implementation of the e-government in the Kingdom.

What are the obstacles and challenges faced in the process of implementing the e-government applications?

Various obstacles have been listed in the questionnaire for the respondents to express their viewpoints on the relevance of these obstacles in acting as impediments to the introduction of E-Government. According to the opinion of the respondents, llimited budgets for spending on IT, and high price of IT infrastructure to be the major obstacles in the implementation of e-government in Saudi Arabia. In addition, lack of society’s awareness about e-government advantages and benefits, lack of trust in e-dealing, lack of Internet access among various sections of population, dependence of Internet usage on the English language, and uncertainties about the benefits of the use of new system are some of the obstacles from the social front that affects faster implementation of e-government in Saudi Arabia.

What is the role of government policies, financial systems, technological systems, organizational systems and social systems in impeding the implementation of e-governance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?

The survey observes lack of support from political leadership is the main obstacle from the government side that hinders the implementation of e-government. Lack of advisory committees or task forces to implement e-government projects, lack of support from upper management, little collaboration among governmental agencies, and lack of clear vision about e-government project are some of the other governmental issues that affect the implementation of the e-government system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

On the technological side, inadequate software programs to run e-government, insufficient support for internet devices, computer usage is not widely spread among the population people, lack of e-payment infrastructure, and inadequate phone lines are the major issues that prevents the e-government systems to take full effect in the kingdom.

What are the perceptions of individual Saudi citizens about the e-government initiatives of the government of Saudi Arabia?

From the survey results it is observed that a majority of the people in the Kingdom are aware of the governments’ initiatives on introducing e-governance in the country. 91% of the respondents acknowledged that they are aware of e-government implementation programs. Though a majority of the people may not fully understand the significance and implications of e-governance they are aware of the initiatives of the government in this direction. Another factor that needs consideration is that 62% of the respondents prefer to have e-government in place. Therefore it can reasonably be concluded that in the perception of a majority of the people of Saudi Arabia e-government initiatives are a welcome measure in the advancement of the country.

Summary

This chapter presented the findings of the study along with a detailed analysis of the results. Statistical analysis of the data collected presented the perceptions of the respondents. Answers to the research questions also formed part of this chapter. Statistical analysis enabled the segregation of several obstacles in order of their identification of priorities by the respondents.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Introduction

The purpose of any social research is to identify a social issue concerned with the society and community, analyze the problem, collect information and data using appropriate research methods, organize the findings, draw conclusions from the findings and finally make recommendations based on the results. In this context, this objective of this chapter reviews the process of the current research and to make some concluding remarks as a recap on the issues discussed in the text in relation to the subject matter of study. This chapter also details the limitations of the study and makes few recommendations for further research in the field of e-governance.

Research Conclusion

This study shows that 96% of individuals have computers with 93.9% of them having Internet facility in their workplaces. This can be viewed as a positive factor in a developing country like Saudi Arabia, where new technological applications are still in the infant stage and are very recent. This indicates that institutions have plans and the required resources to implement e-government. Furthermore, the study shows that nearly 89.9% of participants have easy access to the Internet.

This observation from the survey supports the other observation of this study, which indicates that the technological obstacle is the least one to affect the implementation of e-government as compared to the other obstacles. In addition, the study shows that 96.3% of participants preferred the idea of having the e-government in place. This result indicates that the majority of respondents would like to have e-government facilities, despite the fact that the concept of e-government is still in its early stages in Saudi Arabia.

These positive attitudes of all participants may be attributed to the participants’ recognition of the benefits from adopting e-government. This may be considered as the most obvious perception of the respondents. The study shows that there are quite a few obstacles and challenges preventing or influencing e-government implementation. They are the educational, organizational, political, financial, social, and technological obstacles, ranked from highest to lowest.

Furthermore, the results of this study indicate that institutions specifically face staff resistance to change and weakness of telecommunication infrastructure as the most influential obstacle in getting the e-government in place. Lack of reengineering of procedures and operations, lack of appropriate laws for e-usage, lack of strategic planning and lack of clear vision about e-government projects are some of the obstacles from the government side that impedes the implementation of e-government in Saudi Arabia. In addition, weak educational systems, lack of advisory committees or task forces to implement e-government projects, uncertainties about the benefits of the new technology usage and insufficient programmes also come in the way of successful implementation of e-governance measures.

Absence of seminars or workshops to train staff on e-government applications, limited financial spending on IT, complexity of current administrative procedures, lack of programmes to promote e-government benefits and advantages and inadequacy of qualified personnel for e-government applications are some of the organizational and system-based obstacles preventing the faster introduction of e-government applications. There are other obstacles enumerated by this study like, lack of formal educational curricula, failure to respond to the IT era demands, lack of support from upper management, lack of cooperation between public and private sector in IT, and low levels of literacy among citizens identified to influence the implementation of e-government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia significantly.

Inadequate individual legal rights, weak current administrative systems, high cost of IT, lack of internet access among various sections of population, lack of political leadership support and lack of central authority at the country level for e-government applications are some of the other reasons contributing to the slow progress in the implementation of e-government in the country. Respondents to the survey also identified low level of computer usage among the people, little collaboration among governmental agencies, weak IT infrastructure, lack of e-payment options, dependence of Internet usage on the English language and lack of necessary skills for e-government applications as some of the other factors, which affect the progress in implementing e-government.

There are few other obstacles and challenges like insufficient network security, lack of computer literacy among citizens, inadequate software programmes for e-government applications, technology usage conflicts with cultural habits and difficulties in keeping up with current technological advancements and rapid changes affect the e-government measures being introduced. Lack of society’s awareness about e-government advantages and benefits and low level of citizen income have a role in slowing the progress of e-government implementation.

The results of this study show that there were no statistically significant differences between males and females, or different groups from different institutions regarding all obstacles. Feng (2003) pointed out that the difficulties connected with new technology applications are not primarily technical, but human and organizational issues. Further, he stated that the main barriers to the implementation of e-government are not technical, but the cultural implications of new technologies (p.50-51). This study supports the results of Feng (2003) study, which revealed that one of the main obstacles toward maximizing the potential offered by e-government was the need for change in individual attitudes and organizational culture (p. 59).

The results of this study also support the results of Abu Mgiyed’s (2004) study, which revealed that public institutions face a lack of administrative aspects because they are not currently matched with e-government demands. The results also show that a lack of strategic planning is one of the real barriers.

This viewpoint agrees with some of the previous studies, which found that governmental organizations face troubles in administrative aspects such as strategic planning (Al-Aizam, 2001, & Al-Awalemh, 2002). These results also support Shouaeeb’s (1997) study, which revealed that there are some administrative obstacles facing government agencies with regard to technology usage, such as lack of future planning, central authority, and unsupported upper management.

Simply adding computers or modems will not improve e-government development. Institutions should have a comprehensive plan to utilize e-government applications to serve citizens more efficiently, including all factors and aspects such as organizational, educational, financial, legislative, technological, social and environmental factors in order for e-government projects to succeed. Therefore, the transformation to e-government application must be primed with comprehensive strategic planning. However, the results of this study show the main obstacles facing the implementation of e-government in institutions are educational and organizational issues.

Limitations of Research

Collection of data was one of the major limitations of the study, as the purpose of the study and the importance of the issue has to be explained personally to most of the respondents. Moreover, language was another barrier as the questionnaire was to be drafted in English and many of the respondents necessarily needed the salient points to be explained to them in Arabic. This has taken a longer time for receiving back the questionnaire after the response. Another limitation was faced with the availability of past research and empirical data as secondary sources on the e-government implementation with specific reference to the Saudi Arabian context. However, there was abundance of literature on the e-government and its implications sourcing information and data relevant to the Saudi context was cumbersome.

Recommendations

Following the current research as the baseline, further research may be conducted in following respects.

  • Research on e-government implementation may be extended to wider range of participants covering diverse respondent groups such as students, instructors, staff, administrators and technicians in order to bring wider perceptions in terms of affiliations and experiences.
  • Research may also be extended to specific obstacle areas like technological or social breaking down the challenges.
  • A comparative study of the e-government initiatives of Saudi Arabia with any other Gulf State would provide an extended knowledge on specific areas where e-government initiatives need to be strengthened.
  • An exclusive research on the private sector participation in the e-government initiatives of the government of Saudi Arabia would add value to the concept.
  • Research on the existing forms and procedures and ways to improve upon them for furthering the benefits of g-government applications would be another interesting study.

Summary

On an overall analysis, this study analyzed the challenges and obstacles in implementing the e-government applications in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The study also gave enough insight in to the barriers to the introduction of e-governance in Saudi Arabia. Getting varied views on the obstacles in the form of responses from the individual citizens on a major government move was an interesting experience for the researcher and it enhanced the knowledge base of the researcher.

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Appendix 1

Questionnaire

Part I

Personal Information: please place a check (√) in the appropriate box that describes you

  • Gender:
    • Male
    • Female
  • Age:
    • Less than 25 years
    • 25 – 30
    • 31 –35
    • 36-40
    • 41-45
    • 46-50
    • 51-Above
  • Education Level:
    • Bachelor’s degree
    • High diploma degree
    • Master’s degree
    • Doctorate
  • Academic Major:
    • Public administration
    • Computer
  • Length of Technological Experience:
    • Less than 5 years
    • 5-10
    • 11-15
    • 16-20
    • 21 years- and more
  • Length of Employment:
    • 1-5 years
    • 6-10 years
    • 11-15 years
    • 16-20 years
    • 21-25 years
    • 26-30 years
    • 31-35 years
    • 36 years and more
  • Monthly Income
    • 5,000 SR or less
    • 5,001-10,000 SR
    • 10,001-15,000 SR
    • 15,001-20,000 SR
    • 20,001 SR or more

Part II

Please check yes or no depending on your condition

  • Do you have easy access to the Internet? □ Yes □ No
  • Would you prefer to put e-government in place? □ Yes □ No
  • Do you have knowledge of e-government? □ Yes □ No
  • Do you have a personal computer at home? □ Yes □ No
  • Do you have a computer in your office? □ Yes □ No
  • Do you have Internet services at home? □ Yes □ No
  • Do you have Internet services in your office? □ Yes □ No

Part III

Perceived Obstacles to E-government Implementations

Please read each statement carefully, and check (√) the response that best expresses your perception about e-government obstacles as explained in the following statements. Please, if you do not know you should check “neutral”.

1= strongly disagree: if you strongly disagree that the statement is considered an obstacle of e-government.

2= disagree: if you disagree that the statement is considered an obstacle of e-government.

3= neutral: if you don’t agree or disagree about that the statement.

4= agree: if you agree that the statement is considered an obstacle of e-government.

5= strongly agree: if you strongly agree that the statement is considered an obstacle of e-government.

  • Are the following items considered political (legislative and regulatory) obstacles to the implementation of e-government in institutions?
    • Inadequate individual legal right
    • Lack of political leadership support
    • Lack of appropriate laws for e-usage
  • Are the following items considered financial obstacles to the implementation of e-government in educational institutions?
    • Limited of financial spending on IT
    • High of IT
    • High-priced services of telecommunications
  • Are the following items considered technological (infrastructure) obstacles to the implementation of e-government in educational institutions?
    • Inadequate software programmes to implement e-government
    • Insufficient maintenance of e-devices
    • Lack of e-signature option
    • Computer usage is not widely spread among people
    • Limited postal services
    • Weak IT infrastructures
    • Lack of e-payment option
    • Inadequate phone lines
    • Difficulties in keeping up with current technological advancements and rapid changes
    • Insufficient network security
    • Weakness of telecommunication infrastructure
  • Are the following items considered organizational obstacles to the implementation of e-government in educational institutions?
    • Lack of programs to promote e-government benefits and advantages
    • Lack of cooperation between public and private sector in IT
    • Lack of advisory committees or task forces to implement e-government projects
    • Complexity of current administrative procedures
    • Lack of support from upper management
    • Lack of strategic planning
    • Little collaboration among governmental agencies
    • Weak current administrative systems
    • Lack of reengineering of procedures and operations
    • Lack of central authority at the country level for e-government applications
    • Lack of clear vision about e-government project
    • Inadequacy of qualified personnel for e-government applications
    • Staff resistance to change
  • Are the following items considered Social Infrastructure Obstacles to the implementation of e-government in educational institutions?
    • Lack of society’s awareness about e-government advantages and benefits
    • Low levels of literacy among citizens
    • Lack of trust in e-dealings
    • Technology usage conflicts with cultural habits
    • Lack of computer literacy among citizens
    • Technology usage conflicts with religious tenets
    • Lack of Internet access among various sections of population
    • Lack of necessary skills for e-government applications
    • Dependence of Internet usage on the English language
    • Low level of citizen income
    • Uncertainties about the benefits of the use of new technology

Part IV

Additional Obstacles

Please list any other items that you do/did consider to be an obstacle to implement e-government that was not mentioned in the above statements.

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