E-Service adoption in unstable societies
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis
Refugees and displaced people who have been affected by political instability face complex challenges to access government services. Digital (eGovernment) services perhaps have the greatest potential for overcoming these challenges, particularly in societies and developing countries with limited access to traditional infrastructure and resources. There are limited academic works covering the provision and efficacy of eServices for this need. This work addresses this gap by examining eService provision for three levels of instability (High, Medium and Low, derived from UN data), and focuses particularly on the high-level case of instability in Syria, and on Syrian refugees hosted by other countries. The topic was challenging to investigate, given the current geopolitical context and issues of access to relevant people and stakeholders, which are distributed across countries and involve multiple agencies. A combination of research methodologies has been adopted, in this research. We reviewed the literature that focused on factors affecting the adoption of eService during instability, in which an initial conceptual formwork emerged. We compared eService activities in countries that exhibit different levels of instability, isolating factors and behaviours that led to successful experiences in order to repeat those successes in countries that have high-level of instability. This identified a need for an insightful study within highly unstable countries, therefore, we conducted a questionnaire to capture inputs from groups of displaced people which applied to the Syrian refugees in Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and some EU countries. We received 415 complete responses and 1634 partially completed responses to this study. The results indicate possible areas of good practice in the use of technology to support and engage refugees. To find the full set of these activities and good practices we conducted nineteen interviews with different stakeholders and experts from several case studies. In total, more than thirty hours of interview gathered using field-work and teleconference. This research provides a novel framework (Instability Framework) as the main contribution, in which we suggest technology-related strategies, barriers, and enablers that may assist in the effective adoption of eService delivery in unstable countries. Furthermore, Institutional Theory and examples of similar work in government support e.g. reinventing government principles by (Osborn &Gabler and Heeks in the information age) were extended to reflect the adoption of eService delivery in unstable society and used as theoretical lenses to comprehend our results.
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