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Evaluating e-Government: Themes, trends, and directions for future research

  • Heidlund, Marcus
  • Sundberg, Leif
Publication Date
Dec 13, 2022
First Monday
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As observed by e-Government scholars, the use of digital technology in the public sector has intensified during the last decade. With digital infrastructures becoming more complex, we argue that it is important to study the evaluation of their use. In this paper, we study the literature on the evaluation of e-Government. With a bibliometric analysis of keywords, combined with a narrative analysis of highly cited papers, we sought to characterize the literature on evaluation and identify themes and trends to propose directions for further research. Our findings reveal seven themes of e-Government evaluation research. Our analysis of highly cited papers disclosed that the literature is characterized by a service-dominant logic, with citizens’ adoption of government services and Web sites being assessed by statistical analysis of surveys. We note the shaky theoretical foundations of e-Government evaluation, a field that has been subject to a plethora of localized models. We conclude that evaluation efforts in e-Government research have been characterized by studies in which digital technology efforts have been judged on narrow grounds, such as ease of use. Based on these findings, we propose a research agenda that includes a shift from evaluation of services to a focus on “big questions”, such as emancipation and democracy. We propose that scholars should undertake more case studies of evaluative practices to form stronger theories with solid empirical foundations.

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