e-Government as a tool to promote transparency and openness: the case of Bangladesh

2017-01-31T05:27:20Z (GMT) by Rashid, Nahid
The concept of e-Government has emerged rapidly in the developing world to establish citizen-centred government. The Bangladesh Government has also concentrated on introducing e-Government as a part of existing governance reform through the use of ICT. This study is a comprehensive investigation of the effects of e-Government on transparency and openness through greater information flows in the public sector. Bangladesh encounters a multiple form of governance challenges, including corruption, malfunctioning public management and lack of transparency and accountability in public decision making and delivery of public services. Transparency and access to information is a prerequisite for strengthening governance mechanism in this context. The potential benefits of e-Government in Bangladesh largely depend on the establishment of accessible ICT infrastructure to provide online services. However, the existing body of knowledge on assessing e-Government’s impact on transparency in the public management is scanty. No significant prior study of the use and impact of e-Government in improving transparency and openness from a developing country perspective is known. Hence, this study was undertaken to address this gap in the literature. Further, it investigates the drivers and obstacles to the successful implementation of e-Government. This exploratory, qualitative research involved detailed case studies with two organisations selected from amongst nine implementing e-Government initiatives across the public sector in Bangladesh and made use of diverse data sources. Findings from these case studies support the benefits that e-Government can achieve transparency and openness in the government system when technological integration involves constant engagement between service providers and the users to ‘join up services’. The major theoretical contribution of this thesis builds on the ‘Technology Enactment’ theory of Fountain (2001). Although developed in an Anglo-American context, Fountain’s ‘technology enactment’ is reflected this study which uses her theory as an analytical framework to study the information-based changes in the organisations studied. The thesis identifies several factors affecting successful implementation of e-Government development in this context, including the role of political leaders and improvement of infrastructure capacity. Public-private partnership e-Government projects offer the potential of new knowledge and skills, financial support, and performance accountability. However, caution should be taken to fair play the role of the private partners within the purview of PPP. Finally, the thesis finds that the implementation of e-Government necessitates crafting strategies that affect the structures and processes of the government and demand large amounts of scarce resources, money, skills and commitment of the political leaders, public sector leaders and managers.